Raising the issue

In Practice

Obesity is an important health concern that needs to be raised in a sensitive, open and empathetic manner:

 

1. Assume that the patient knows that he or she is overweight

Linking weight to an existing medical concern is often an opportunity to raise the issue of weight management e.g. “Are you aware that losing weight could help lower your blood pressure?”

Listening carefully to the response can provide some insight into their self-recognition, and motivation for any treatment suggestions.

2. Acknowledge the complexity of the condition

Overweight and obese patients often have a fear of (and unfortunately experience of) being labelled as simply ‘greedy’ or ‘lazy’. Acknowledging the extent of the problem and emphasising the many and varied factors which contribute to obesity can help to convey that this is not a condition which should be blamed solely on ‘weak-willed’ individuals.