Weighing the Benefits

When it comes to bedside manner, is your doctor “the biggest loser?”

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Plus-size people are used to getting berated about diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses. But how much does that really help?

Enter Charlotte Albury and team from the University of Oxford.

Researchers categorized over two hundred conversations about weight loss programs between doctors and plus-size patients. Positive conversations emphasized the benefits of losing weight; negative talk stressed the dangers of obesity. Then researchers measured patients’ weight loss after twelve months.

Results? Patients who received positive messaging were more likely to join a weight loss program. On average, they lost almost twice as much weight as patients who received negative talk! And nearly FOUR times more than patients who received neutral messaging!

Offering support and communicating benefits of weight loss can be more motivating than emphasizing dangers! Something for doctors to consider when speaking to patients.

Don’t give the negative so much weight!

Reference: Albury, C., Webb, H., Stokoe, E., Ziebland, S., Koshiaris, C., Lee, J. J., & Aveyard, P. (2023). Relationship Between Clinician Language and the Success of Behavioral Weight Loss Interventions. Annals of Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.7326/M22-2360