Monday, May 14, 2012

Doctors Need Help Tackling Their Patient's Weight Problems

An article appearing today at  titled, Doctors And Insurers Are Key To Fighting Obesity, discusses the role that doctors must play in fighting the obesity epidemic.
Here is a quote from the article in reference to why doctors are not dong more.

"Many harried physicians are unprepared to advise people about how to change their behaviors, unconvinced they have time to do so, and therefore look skeptically at screening," said Dr. Robert Kushner, clinical director of the Comprehensive Center on Obesity at Northwestern University.

If doctors are overweight themselves, they’re less likely to recognize the issue in their patients, research shows. What’s more, doctors aren’t trained in medical school to handle weight issues. They also often aren’t convinced obesity treatments work, and many believe there aren’t good community programs to which they can refer patients.

 “The question is, how many programs are out there for primary care doctors to refer to in the community, and answer is – not many,” said Dr. Ned Calonge, a Colorado physician who is the immediate past chairman of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force."

The writer reports these facts as if they are a revelation. They are not. In fact, they are at the very core of precisely why I founded MDPrevent.

People need a resource to turn to for weight help and by and large, doctors aren't a good one. But even doctors in the know can't do it alone. They need the help of others like nutritionists/registered dietitians. Yet, most nutritionists/registered dietitians are either hospital-based or working in solo practice. Very few are employed in physicians practice even though close integration with a doctor would ensure clear lines of communication. Even fewer nutritionists/registered dietitians work along-side a health psychologist and a fitness instructor. The combination of a primary care practitioner, nutritionist/registered dietitian, health psychologist and fitness instructor are at the epicenter of the solution to the problems that cause obesity. People need help with this disease and this type of dream team can offer such focused, integrated help.

The good news is that at MDPrevent it is not a dream because we have brought together these four quintessential provider types. We have also implored the government to fund our efforts to grow this model so instead of keep talking, writing, blogging about the problem, we can actually do something about it.

I hope the government is listening because the problem will not go away on its own and MDPrevent has a viable, cost-effective solution.

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