Today I had lunch with a colleague who told me her mother was very upset when she saw that the electronic medical chart in her doctor’s office had listed her as “obese”, based on her BMI (body mass index). She had always described herself as “chubby” but had never considered herself obese. This made me realize that I should be more sympathetic to doctors and other primary care providers who say they do not discuss weight with their patients in general office visits. In fact, 4 out of 10 clinicians in 2014 said they measure weight and BMI but do not discuss weight with their patients for a few different reasons:
- It is a very sensitive issue with patients
- They don’t have time
- They are not sure patients can make the lifestyle changes necessary to lose weight
This is a real problem since the CDC just released new data suggesting that 2 out of 3 Americans have a weight problem. BMI is a required measurement in any healthcare office. While BMI is not perfect, it is a good predictor of health risk. Multiple studies indicate that the higher the BMI, the more likely a person is at risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, gout, depression, and cancer. While we can have many personal descriptions of our weight, (including chubby), it is important not to ignore the health risks of being overweight.
What can you do?
- Know your BMI (you can measure here)
- Take action and discuss your weight with your healthcare provider
- Explore options for treatment. Studies show most people can be successful at losing weight and keeping it off with a plan that is designed just for them
Want to take the first step by checking your BMI? Click here for a BMI calculator!