Counseling For Weight Loss

Published:October 5th, 2010

Doctors spend a lot of time counseling patients about diet and weight loss, but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to make a difference, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have recorded conversations between primary care physicians and their overweight or obese patients over an eighteen month period. Their findings showed that physicians realize how important the weight loss issue is, and that they talk to their patients about it. However, the data showed that there was no wide difference in weight loss between patients who received counseling and those who did not.

Doctors who talked about diet and weight loss in a more motivational way, using reflective and emphatic statements did achieve better results than those who had a more confrontational style of communication.

Doctors who were better at communicating with their patients registered about 3.5 pounds weight loss with their patients, three months after the visit.

This study was the largest of its kind and the first one to examine not just the frequency of diet and weight counseling in doctor office visits, but also the quality of the counseling and the impact on the patients.

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