Obese patients trust diet advice from overweight physicians more than normal-weight physicians

June 04, 2013

When it comes to taking diet advice from a physician--size matters. This is according to a new study led by a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who examined the impact of primary care physician BMI (body mass index) on their patients' trust and perceptions of weight-related stigma. They found that overweight and obese patients trust weight-related counseling from overweight physicians more than normal weight physicians and patients seeing an obese primary care physician were more likely to perceive weight-related stigma. The results are featured online in the June 2013 issue of Preventive Medicine.

"With respect to overall trust, our results suggest that overweight and obese patients trust their primary care physicians, regardless of their body weight," said Sara Bleich, PhD, associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management. "However, with respect to trust in weight-related advice, we found that patients more strongly trusted diet advice from overweight primary care physicians as compared to normal BMI primary care physicians. In addition, we found that patient perceptions of weight-related stigma increased with physician BMI. Patients seeing obese primary care physicians, as compared to normal BMI physicians, were significantly more likely to report feeling judged because of their weight."

Using a national cross-section survey of 600 overweight and obese patients, researchers examined overall trust and trust in weight-related counseling from their primary care physicians. Overall trust was assessed by asking, "Using any number from 0 to 10, where 0 means that you do not trust this doctor at all and 10 means that you trust this doctor completely, what number would you use to rate how much you trust this doctor?" While, trust in weight-related advice was assessed by the survey question: "How much do you trust the advice from this doctor about how to control your weight; improve your diet or increase your physical activity, a great deal; a good amount; only some or very little?" Bleich and colleagues conducted multivariate regression analyses to determine whether trust or perceived stigma differed by physician BMI.

"While weight-related stigma has been documented among health professionals for decades, as well as lower physician respect towards patients with a higher BMI, our finding that weight-related stigma increases with physician BMI was quite surprising," notes Bleich. "Recent changes to obesity coverage among the publicly insured makes understanding primary care physicians' barriers to providing effective obesity care critical. Existing research suggests that primary care physicians face numerous challenges to providing optimal obesity care which include knowledge deficits, negative attitudes and structural barriers. Future research should further examine the impact of physician BMI on obesity care. In particular, why patient-perceived physician stigma is higher among heavier primary care physicians and why the patterns we observed between physician BMI and trust in weight-related counseling differ by the type of counseling."
-end-
"How does physician BMI impact patient trust and perceived stigma," was written by Sara N. Bleich, Kimberly A. Gudzune, Wendy L. Bennett, Marian P. Jarlenski and Lisa A. Cooper.

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.