Primary doctor not best source for weight help

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said doctors aren’t the best source for weight-related counseling.

Researchers surveyed 500 general practitioners, family practitioners and general internists and found only 44 percent of primary care physicians reported success in helping obese patients lose weight. The physicians identified nutritionists and dietitians as the most qualified health care providers to help obese patients.

Primary care physicians with fewer than 20 years since completion of medical school were more likely to identify lack of information about good eating habits and lack of access to healthy food as important causes of obesity.

“There are few differences in primary care physician perspectives about the causes of obesity or solutions to improve care, regardless of when they completed medical school, suggesting that obesity-related medical education has changed little over time,” said Sara Bleich, the lead author of the study, in a news release. But “physicians who completed medical school more recently reported feeling more successful helping obese patients lose weight.”

— Anne Aurand, The Bulletin