When fat doctors talk to obese patients

How can doctors counsel obese patients why they themselves struggle with their own weight?

That’s the question pediatrician Perri Klass discusses in a recent New York Times column. On one hand, doctors who are obese may better connect with patients when they “understand their frailties.”

But on the other, patients also ignore advice from physicians who can’t follow it themselves. Indeed, that’s what pediatrician Julie C. Lumeng, an expert in childhood obesity, finds: “The advice we’re supposed to give in pediatric clinic, it boils down to ‘Eat less, exercise more.’ This is such blasphemy, but when I deliver this advice to families, my heart’s not in it, because I just feel like so often the families are just glazing over, and when that advice is delivered to me, I glaze over, too.”

Patients are all too familiar with the worsening obesity epidemic. And, it appears that many doctors are finding out first hand how difficult it is to conquer it.