The importance of seeing your primary care physician as recommended cannot be overstated. Most patients do not enjoy seeing their physician, however is it possible that your weight may play a role in how likely you are to see your doctor?

 

We already know that patients that have excess weight feel a pervasive stigma and discrimination on a daily basis; click here. It turns out that physicians are not free of this bias. Physicians’ negative attitudes toward patients with excess weight can be felt by patients and well as measured in clinical research. This in turn affects the quality of care that these patients receive with delays in care and unintended health effects as consequences of these attitudes. 

 

Patients who struggle with their weight ultimately end up contributing to the worsening of their health care. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine show that up to 55% of patients with obesity report canceling their appointment for fear of being weighed at the physician’s office. Care is often delayed again when patients with obesity avoid preventative cancer screenings for fear of discrimination or disrespect at the screenings. Additionally, 37% of obese patients were reported to have engaged in “doctor shopping”, by seeing more than primary care clinician within a 24-month period. This type of behavior also leads to the receipt of worsened medical care. 

 

How do we change this unacceptable health care environment? After all; physicians are supposed to be there for their patients no matter what.

 

Part of the problem is that physicians are not equipped to handle the complex medical conditions of being overweight and obese. We often hear from our physician colleagues that they don’t know what to tell patients when it comes to their weight. Additionally, many physicians also struggle with their weight. When physicians struggle with their own weight they are less likely to bring up weight issues with patients suffering from them. 

 

The Metabolism Clinic receives hundreds of referrals from primary care physicians to specialists. In fact, over half of the patients at The Metabolism Clinic are physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals. 

 

The Metabolism Clinic is established as the destination for weight loss and reversal of diabetes. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. www.themetabolismclinic.com