Receiving support and advice on weight loss from your doctor has been proved to have a great impact on how much weight you actually lose, according to a new study. Participants whose doctors backed them up got rid of more fat compared to those whose doctors were less involved in the process.
More than 300 volunteers suffering from obesity took part in the two-year study conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Medical Center. If they wanted to, the participants were allowed to get their physicians’ support.
At the end of the federal-funded study, each participant was asked to fill out questionnaires that would evaluate the patient-doctor relationship. Analyzing the data they collected, the researchers noticed that regular visits to the doctors translated in an average of 11 pounds of lost weight.
Volunteers also reported that having their doctor involved in the weight-loss process was very helpful; based on an evaluating system, the doctors whose patients lost 5 pounds of less received the lowest rating.
Co-author of the study Dr. Wendy Bennett, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University, said that weight loss has the opportunity of becoming more successful if future programs would incorporate physicians as advisors and supporters.
According to Bennett, having a regular doctor-patient relationship is beneficial mostly because of the trust, empathy, collaboration, and good interaction that it promotes. All of these have the ability to improve the patient’s chances of being honest about their habits and it also increases their willingness of taking the prescribed medicine.
Previous studies also hypothesized that care providers can play important roles in the weight loss efforts of their obese patients. Published in the journal Patient Education and Counselling, the study was entitled “Satisfaction with primary care provider involvement is associated with greater loss: Results from the practice-based POWER trial.”
The researchers also pointed out that physicians who are advisors in weight loss programs – conducted by either private insurances or Medicare – are almost never financially reimbursed, and that their main drive is usually not money, but the health benefits: helping obese people lose weight.
Millions of people worldwide deal with obesity – and Americans are not the least of those. Media is filled with advertisements of diets, slimming pills, and personalized workouts, which means the condition has reached a large population. In additional to traditional support, physicians could provide help for obese people trying to lose weight.
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