Excerpts Courtesy of USA Today
Physicians know they're on the front lines in the fight against obesity, but many say they don't have staff able to help patients with weight loss, according to a survey of 290 primary-care physicians by Harris Interactive. Among the findings:
• 89% of doctors believe it's their responsibility to help patients lose weight.
• 72% say no one in their office has been trained to deal with weight problems.
• 87% weigh patients at every office visit.
• 45% say they regularly discuss weight with their patients.
• 86% say they find it easy to discuss weight with their patients.
In a separate telephone survey of 1,002 adults in the USA, also by Harris Interactive, only about one-third of those who are obese — roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight — say they have been told by a health care professional they are too heavy. Of the patients who were told they are obese, most (90%) were advised to lose weight. Of those advised to lose weight, 36% say the medical professional never discussed ways to achieve a healthier weight.
Bonnie - if doctors are the first line of defense against obesity, and 89% surveyed say it is their responsibility to help patients lose weight, why are we not seeing results? I venture to say that if insurance companies reimbursed doctor-assisted weight-loss counseling as much as they do tests and procedures, the doctors would be singing a different tune.
Of course, I am here for the public. However, many are reluctant to see me because they have to pay out of pocket and submit to insurance themselves. Over the last several years, it is encouraging to see that clients who do submit to insurance after my visit (along with a diagnosis from their doctor) are getting reimbursed.