Clinicians not seeing obesity through the eyes of the patient

There is a deep disconnect between the way patients perceive obesity, and their healthcare providers. This is based on a recent qualitative study, due to be released in 2016; it suggests that clinicians are far too scientific in their understanding, and look at obesity with thoughts of health and disease, whilst the people they are treating see it more through the lens of lifestyle and social relationships. The findings from the small study, which was supported by the Obesity Society, show that many people face harsh challenges over their weight because of the view that obesity is a lifestyle issue that can be overcome simply, by eating less and being more active. What many healthcare providers fail to realise is that obesity is a complex disease, and requires a holistic and complete care approach in order to tackle it effectively.

The study also found that 75% of people with obesity regarded themselves as ‘healthy’, showing a clear disconnect between them and their clinicians. Overall these results highlight the fact that a lack of understanding and empathy between the two parties leads to a lack of effective communication. This prolongs treatment and reduces its efficacy. Further studies into this issue are due to be conducted, and on a larger scale.

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