In a recent blog, I discussed the research findings that primary care physicians tend to develop less emotional rapport with overweight and obese patients, and the consequence that this lack of emotional connection makes the prospect for successful behavioral change, such as that which can lead to weight loss, all the more difficult to achieve.
In another recent—and perhaps more interesting--study, overweight and obese patients were more likely to feel stigmatized by primary care physicians who were themselves obese than by doctors of normal weight. Has that little glimmer of hope that an obese patient might have for a life-altering doctor-patient relationship as he or she observes that extra-extra-large white coat struggling through the door into the cramped confines of the examination room been dimmed?
These overweight and obese patients still trust their primary care physicians, regardless of their body weight. However, patients trust diet advice coming from overweight and obese physicians more, according to the research scheduled to appear in the journal Preventive Medicine:
• Among the 600 obese and overweight women surveyed, 32% who visited obese primary care physicians reported that they felt judged by the physician because of their weight, in contrast to the 14% who saw the physicians of normal weight and 17% who saw overweight physicians.