Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. So too, apparently, is obesity. A new study says your doctor is much less likely to point out that you need to shed a few pounds, if he or she also needs to lose some weight.
The researchers, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that physicians who are a healthy or normal weight are more likely to talk to their overweight or obese patients about the need to drop some pounds compared to physicians who had weight issues of their own. In fact 30 percent of normal weight docs had that conversation with patients compared to just 18 percent of the overweight docs.
Pot, meet the kettle
While this may be understandable – after all it’s hard to tell someone they need to go on a diet if you are also on the plus plus side and are doing nothing about it – it’s not very helpful. Many patients look to their doctor to give them guidance about how to lead a healthier life and if their physician is not talking to them about one of the biggest threats to their health, namely obesity, then they are missing out on some potentially life-saving information.
It’s not just doctors who turn a blind eye to weight issues. There was a study not so long ago that found that parents of children who are overweight are not likely to notice their kid has a problem if many of the other kids in their neighborhood or school are also overweight. Apparently, when they look around and see all the other kids look like theirs they make the assumption that their child is then “normal” and therefore doesn’t have a problem.
Turning a blind eye
It’s a nice way of seeing the world. It’s also horribly misguided. Turning a blind eye to a problem doesn’t make it go away. Pretending that obesity is “normal” won’t help you avoid all the health problems it can bring. And having a physician who doesn’t tell you that you need to lose weight because they also need to lose weight, doesn’t serve either of you well.