Are doctors nicer to thinner patients?

Do you think doctors are nicer to thinner patients? 

I came across this article on the NY Times website: 

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/overweight-patients-face-bias/

It seemed to me that the argument that doctors are nicer to thinner patients was mainly based on a few sympathetic things that had been said to those patients, and the fact that the overweight patients were "always told" to lose weight (even when they went to the doctor with an unrelated health concern) and they found the badgering about their weight offensive and off-putting, but also thought that the doctor didn't take their other health problems seriously. 

I think doctors should offer "unsolicited" advice anyway - surely if you went to the doctor with a cold and the doctor diagnosed a cold and another unrelated health concern, you would want them to tell you? image 

«1

Comments

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    I know surgeons prefer super fit ones.

  • But those two conditions aren't unrelated.  Obesity puts your immune system under strain and makes you more likely to get colds etc.

    Or did I just make that up based on a sample of one?  Me.

  • No, it's true. Apparently unrelated illnesses can be exacerbated or made harder to treat by obesity.

     

    Take pregnancy for example - obese women are more likely to struggle to conceive, have miscarriages, get high blood pressure, blood clots or pregnancy related diabetes, need interventions or caesarean section, lose a lot of blood and have them or the baby or both die. They are harder to get drips and epidurals into and they are more likely to have problems witha general anaesthetic.

     

    I try very very hard to treat all patients equally but I do sometimes get a little bit frustrated when obese people tell me that they can't help being big and anyway, stop nagging cos it's got nothing to do with x y or z problem.

  • MartenkayMartenkay ✭✭✭

    Being thin is no indication of your fitness and can be symptomatic of extremely poor health. Many people carrying excess weight can be healthy and fit but advice to loose weight is given because it should make them feel even better now. It should also help them avoid some of the typical problems associated with being overweight as they get older.

    I do think that you would find a doctor more pleasant if he/she believed you were attentive to your wellbeing than seeing you continually for illness caused or related to, say, over indulgence in smoking, drinking or eating. Seriously all doctors' are trained to treat their patients equally but are as likely to suffer moods, stress or indifference as anyone else. Patients quite rightly expect them to be nice always.

  • Are patients nicer to fat doctors?  I rarely go to the doctors, and therefore saw one yesterday that I have never seen before.  

    She was both shorter and plumper than me image, however, she was also very pleasant.  

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    Honestly. .... I think so.

    i lost 6 stone in a year starting march '12 It might be my imagination but I think doctors listen more now... Not just another fat lazy ... 

     

    I could be totally wrong, but it does feel different.

  • They shouldn't be. Everyone know fat people are jolly.
  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    But then friends (apparently I have a few) say I seem to have more confidence, I don't think do, but they say I have. *shrug*

  • Booktrunk,

    I wonder if doctors are responding to the fact that you have taken responsibility for your own health in making the big effort to lose all that weight. I noticed the same effect when I gave up smoking!

    It is very frustrating when people want you to wave a magic wand and fix their problems, but not make any changes themselves like losing weight/stopping smoking/cutting down on booze etc.

  • So the actual point of the article is overweight people don't like being told they are overweight? Who knew?

     

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭
    booktrunk wrote (see)

    Honestly. .... I think so.

    i lost 6 stone in a year starting march '12 It might be my imagination but I think doctors listen more now... Not just another fat lazy ... 

     

    I could be totally wrong, but it does feel different.

    So you now weigh 2 stone 3lb's.image

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    Certainly, for a surgeon, an obese patient poses a lot of problems, which the patient themself may not realise- you can to to get the ones with non- urgent conditions to understand the importance of losing weight pre-op, but it is rare that anyone can really lose enough to make much of a difference, I think we find obese patients frustrating at times.

    Obviusly the ideal weight is "ideal"- overly- thin patients are also a problem group, just that they are less common!

  • It would be slightly ironic if it was a tubby doctor pontificating about losing weight...

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    RicF: 9st x instead of 15 stone x image

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    I agree- Princess Leah- which is why I took up running in the first place- I can't really go about looking like a blob, and then criticise others for the same thing ( I am far from skinny!)........however, the effort I put in makes me MORE, not less critical of those who seem unable to even try- I nkow a lot of folk have genuine reasons for not being able to lose weight, but the majority just eat too much, and move too little.

  • Tricialitt - once I'd posted I realised that may have come across as critical or aimed at any Dr posters on here, which it certainly wasn't intended to be, was just an observation typed in a hurry!

    I also think surgery differs a bit from the example of going for a cold (!) and getting weight loss advice. Surgeons are giving advice for a specific eventuality much like advice to lose weight if consulting about heart disease, diabetes or whatever - not advice unrelated to what they are being seen for.

    I got pissed off when I went to see GP about eczema and more time was spent on grilling me about why I hadn't had a smear test booked and offering to do one there and then rather than dealing fully with my eczema concerns/questions. I think it is similar - weight loss is on a tick list of advice but I wonder if someone is self-conscious about their weight it could be interpreted as being discriminated against?

  • Princess Leah - I wasn't offended by what you posted.

    We can't win though - if we're portly then patients say "oh, you're a hypocrite with your fat tum lecturing me". But then if we get on and lose weight and shape up then we get "oh, what would you know, you're dead skinny - it's easy for you".

    I used to smoke quite a lot, I still told patients they needed to give up because I know how very very bad it is for you in so many different ways. The big difference now is I can tell people I KNOW it is hard to give up, but it is possible. I show them the app on my phone which shows I've saved well over 6 grand by giving up smoking.

    Similar thing with weight loss and general fitness - I knew it was bad and unhealthy that I was getting fat and wheezy, but I still had a duty to tell my patients how their size was harming their health. The sad thing is now that I have toned up a bit, noone listens to a word I say as they assume I am naturally skinny...

     

  • Theres lots said about people not taking responsibility for their own health/weight.  My o/h is very overweight and its still increasing.  He knows hes overweight and talks about losing it but seems genuinely confused about what are healthy food choices, ie a sugary flavoured milk drink is 'good' because its milk, but he cant see the extra calories are the same as eating a mars bar.  a flapjack is 'good' because of the oats.. but misses the inclusion of butter and syrup,  chicken salad rolls are good for lunch, but they are the size of a tea plate and smothered in mayo.  how is he so 'calorie' blind?

  • MIL seemed to think that food was 'good' if it was organic.  She switched back from low fat spread to butter because organic butter was 'better' for you.  While I agree that it could be better as you are eating less chemicals, it wasn't going to help keep her weight or cholesterol levels down

  • Imagine my disappointment when I went to the doctors for a check up and a pat on the head for losing three stone only to find that my regular doctor was unavailable and I'd have to use a new one.

    She was very large. I couldn't bring up my weight loss. image

  • I suppose it's no more complicated than docs seeing people suffer because of their weight or smoking or drug taking or alcohol or erm, sporting pursuits and them wanting to say, "well, just stop, then, you muppet".

     

  • HappychapHappychap ✭✭✭

    This may come as a surprise to some but most fat people kinda know they are fat.  To be constantly told can be a bit wearing.  

    You tell us every time you give us that up and down look.  You know the one.  

    Being fat doesnt make you a bad person.

  • I really don't understand the reasoning of i gave up smoking or gave up eating too much so then everyone should be able to..

    we all have our strengths and weaknesses.....some have a more compulsive nature than others...........some are much more likely to be OTT about things wether its exercise or eating  or anything.....

    some could give up sex tomorrow whilst others would rather die than have to live celibate for life......

    same with food 

    if the weight is connected with the problem then bring it up as part of many things that might help....but if you go in for a cold or a smear test or measles then there is no need to bring it up constantly......

    unless you have a new scheme which provides counselling, support and groups to help them then why do it......

  • I get that people don't like to be constantly reminded about being overweight, but isn't the doctor's job to point out things that are harmful to their patients health - even if the patient would rather not hear it?

    I'd rather have a doctor that was brilliant at their job but a bit blunt than a doctor that wrapped everything up in sunshine and rainbows.   

  • HappychapHappychap ✭✭✭

    As Seren said, losing weight is never as easy as calories in versus calories out.  Mental attitude and circumstances need to be absolutely right.  It takes a huge amount of energy and positivity to maintain the effort to lose weight successfully and healthily. 

    Like I said before, fat people know they are fat.  They mostly know the heath risks attached to that (I appreciate there may by the few who are in denial or generally ignorant of those risks).  Often they are scared of the implications of this.  Getting a lecture every time you go to the doctors is definitely not going to help.  It will do nothing to change mindset and will put people off going to the doctors for important health reasons such as getting smear tests etc.

    If the reason for going to the doctor is directly linked to the excess weight an individual is carrying then obviously it makes sense to comment but if it is not, then why mention it?

  • a university looking at weight in children found to their surprise that 1 in 17 is underweight which would probably lead to health issues........but noithing at all is being done in this country to look at the problem of underweight children and the associated health issues......

    so do you think that doctors when some of you who have BMi's under 20 should mention your weight problem everytime you go in about a cold or an injury etc......I bet they never ever mention it 

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    Nicky McNamerson wrote (see)

    Imagine my disappointment when I went to the doctors for a check up and a pat on the head for losing three stone only to find that my regular doctor was unavailable and I'd have to use a new one.

    She was very large. I couldn't bring up my weight loss. image

    Why couldn't you? I would have!

    At my local GP they have 'weight targets' and will regularly weigh you to add data into the machine. The more people they weigh = more money they get paid. I only know this because I asked the nurse; why they seem to weigh me everytime i'm there (4-6 months) for no reason.

    My doctor looks for the all round picture and makes notes about my marathon running/injuries etc. to make sure that they have a decent background.

  • Happychap wrote (see)

    As Seren said, losing weight is never as easy as calories in versus calories out.  Mental attitude and circumstances need to be absolutely right.  It takes a huge amount of energy and positivity to maintain the effort to lose weight successfully and healthily. 

    Like I said before, fat people know they are fat.  They mostly know the heath risks attached to that (I appreciate there may by the few who are in denial or generally ignorant of those risks).  Often they are scared of the implications of this.  Getting a lecture every time you go to the doctors is definitely not going to help.  It will do nothing to change mindset and will put people off going to the doctors for important health reasons such as getting smear tests etc.

    If the reason for going to the doctor is directly linked to the excess weight an individual is carrying then obviously it makes sense to comment but if it is not, then why mention it?


    I know that actually it can be as simple as calories in vs calories out.  I lost a lot of weight a few years ago by just eating less and exercising more.

    Seren says she doesn't get why people say "I've done it, anyone can", but when you HAVE done it, you know that it's possible.  Not necessarily easy, but definitely possible.  I boils down to what you want more - that doughnut/chips/burger, or to lose a bit of weight.

    As for why mention a patient's obesity if they've gone in for something unrelated - doctors are supposed to help their patients be healthy.  Wouldn't you expect them to tell a smoker that they should give up smoking?

«1
Sign In or Register to comment.