Race might play a role in how doctors counsel obese patients, study finds

Reducing obesity in America has become a top priority among healthcare professionals, but what if your doctor doesn’t explain how to lose weight?

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reviewed 2,000 doctor visits between 2005 and 2007 and found that 44% of obese blacks and 33% of obese whites didn’t receive weight counseling.

A Baltimore Sun story about the study says: “The findings troubled researchers who set out to tackle what role race played in weight-loss counseling. Coaching patients to eat better and exercise can help fight obesity, but too often primary-care doctors don’t have the time or don’t make the effort to do so, said Sara Bleich, assistant professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.” Here’s a release from Johns Hopkins about the study.

There are plenty of fad diets and weight-loss advice online and in magazines and books -- some of it good, some of it bad. So it seems doctors should be the first ones to advise patients on how to begin shedding pounds safely -- regardless of their patients’ race.