BMI or BP: It's still a health issue


I experienced a "well, duh" moment today. For those of you who haven't heard about these moments, they occur whenever I read a study that seems to prove the obvious (re: people who work Monday through Friday are happier on weekends; people with depression are unhappier than those without depression).

Today's headline: Doctor's weight affects obesity diagnosis

The headline is a little misleading because, when it comes to obesity, most doctors of any weight will discuss the problem with the patient. When it comes to the merely overweight, however, those numbers fall: 27% of normal weight physicians vs. 16% of overweight physicians will bring up this touchy topic.

First of all, if this is the health crisis that the headlines keep screaming it is, then I find it odd that only such a small percentage of physicians of any weight bring this up.

Further, it turns out, only 37% of overweight doctors believe they are even competent to give eating/exercise advice.

I guess I can see where they might feel that way. After all, who wants to receive COPD education from an RT who smokes?

But, if patients have a health problem, they deserve to know, right? Disagree? Substitute the phrase your "blood pressure is 170" for "your BMI is 37" and you'll see my point.

If the patient chooses not to believe the doc can give advice, that's their choice. But, at least give them the choice.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, the hospital dietician stopped into my room with the day's menu options. He must have weighed 350 pounds. But, though I noted the irony in this, it never occurred to me that his recommendations weren't correct, or worthy to follow. In fact, he was my favorite provider during that whole miserable stay.

My point is that the doctor should put the patient's health first, no matter how awkward. If the doctor doesn't feel competent to give eating/exercise advice, fine (although it's not rocket science). Make a recommend to someone who does.

Theresa Flaherty