Don't Be Fat If You Want a Nice Doctor

Face it.  You've got more than a few pounds to lose and when you sit in the chair in the doctor's office, you bulge out the sides.

You've seen people like these.  Well, guess what?  A new study has found that doctors are nicer to thin people, treating them with more warmth and kindness.

According to Tara Parker-Pope, Johns Hopkins got permission to record conversations between patients and doctors 39 times and a distinct difference was seen between people whose B.M.I. was between 25 and 30, and those 31 and higher.

“It’s not like the physicians were being overtly negative or harsh,” Parker-Pope quotes lead author, Dr. Kimberly A. Gudzune, an assistant professor of general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “They were just not engaging patients in that rapport-building or making that emotional connection with the patient.”

What does this mean for the epidemic of obesity washing over the country?  Probably that many who are obese start avoiding the doctor, the last thing they need to do. Parker-Pope noted another reason this is bad. "Studies show that patients are far more likely to follow a doctor’s advice and to have a better health outcome when they believe their doctor empathizes with their plight," she writes.

Parker-Pope notes that some doctors are even found to be judgmental of overweight and obese people by their patients. A doctor Parker-Pope interviewed told the heartbreaking story of his obese grandmother who got tired (and embarrassed by) her doctor constantly telling her to lose weight, so she stopped going -- even when she discovered a breast tumor.  She died of advanced-stage breast cancer at 50.

That was the age I was when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.  It's now almost 10 years later and I'd hate to think I would have missed my son's entering middle school, getting a girlfriend, and starting to get into those grouchy, grumbly you-don't-know-anything years.  :-)


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