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A national survey of 500 primary care physicians found that physician BMI affected how they diagnosed and treated their obese patients.
Physicians with a BMI below 25 were defined as normal weight and those with a BMI of 25 or above were defined as overweight or obese.
While 30% of normal weight physicians engaged their obese patients in weight loss discussions, only 18% of the overweight/obese physicians did so.
The likelihood that physicians would diagnose a patient as obese or start a weight loss program was higher when the physicians believed that the patient’s BMI equaled or exceeded their own — not surprisingly this was much more common among normal weight physicians.
Compared to overweight and obese physicians, normal weight physicians had more confidence in their ability to provide diet and exercise counseling, and believed that patients would be more likely to trust such information if it came from them than if it came from overweight or obese physicians.
They were also more likely to believe that physicians should be role models for a healthy lifestyle.