You are the company you keep. We’re sure you have heard the saying before — probably from your parents when you were growing up in an effort to make sure that you were surrounding yourself with good people and staying out of trouble. Or maybe they meant what and how much you eat.
A recent study published in the journal Social Influence surmised that how much food a person consumes can have an impact on how much another person eats. Researchers believe this is caused by social modeling, a psychological effect that would lead a person to eat less simply because the person they are dining with is eating a small amount of food.
“Internal signals like hunger and feeling full can often be unreliable guides,” says Lenny Vartanian, Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales’s School of Psychology, and the study’s lead author. “In these situations people can look to the example of others to decide how much food they should consume.”
Hunger pangs and satiety have less of an influence on how much we eat than someone eating in front of us. That’s an interesting thought in itself, that external factors are used more than internal factors when we decide how much we want to eat. People have the unique ability to affect change in another person by merely being around them. It’s not unusual to start using the same words or develop a habit your friend has simply because you’ve been around to see them do it. It’s also no surprise that such social influence could be prominent in dieting.
“The research shows that social factors are a powerful influence on consumption,” says Vartanian. “When the companion eats very little, people suppress their food intake and eat less than they normally would if alone.”
Source: University of New South Wales
The Six Types of Obesity:
• Young males who were heavy drinkers
• Middle aged individuals who are unhappy and anxious
• Older people who despite living with physical health conditions are happy
• Younger healthy females
• Older affluent healthy adults
• Individuals with very poor health
are the different types of people who are obese, according to a study
conducted by the National Health Services (NHS) in England, and
consisted of 4,441 overweight patients. Six billion pounds — more than
nine billion U.S. dollars — is spent on obesity in England annually.
Making matters worse, Europe faces an obesity crisis of "enormous
proportions" as unhealthy diets and physical inactivity inflate
waistlines and health costs, according to a recent report by the World
The NHS study started because of the
organization’s perceived notion that England’s way of treating obesity
lacked efficiency and effectiveness, increasing the money spent on
obesity. If further research corroborates these results it could
possibly overhaul the way obesity is treated. Rather than focusing on
the obvious fact that people are overweight, the NHS concentrated more
on why they are overweight. The NHS feels that if you treat the
underlying issue you can get to the root of the person’s weight
problems, resulting in more concentrated treatment and strategies.
research showed that those in the groups that we identified are likely
to need very different services, and will respond very differently to
different health promotion policies,” says Dr. Mark Green from the
University’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).
ultimate goal of the NHS is for a person’s program to be specifically
curtailed to one (or possibly more) of these designations, allowing for a
targeted and specified strategy to treat their weight and increase
efficiency and the success rate for weight loss. What do you think of
the six designations of obesity? Do you think programs should be more
targeted and curtailed to the patient?
Source: University of Sheffield
“Well, the doctor didn’t say anything during my visit, so it must not be a problem.”
Those are the thoughts of many patients as they leave their doctor’s office after another visit where their weight was not discussed. Medical providers have the dubious task of making sure they address their patients’ health issues to the best of their ability. They also must be inoffensive while doing so. It’s a difficult duty to be charged with. But if you aren’t discussing a patient’s weight, are you effectively addressing their health? When it comes to weight loss, the evidence is clear: a doctor recommendations to their patients about weight loss is effective.
How do you approach a patient about weight loss? Start with:
• Ask permission to discuss weight
• Ask open-ended questions
• Build trust, don’t judge
• Focus on health and not weight
More times than not the most difficult step in a journey is the first one — it’s the same with a doctor talking about weight loss to a patient. Bringing up your concerns about your patient’s weight may prove to be the most burdensome part of the conversation. To alleviate some of the awkwardness, be non-offensive and compassionate. Don’t blame, provoke guilt, or judge. This is a collaborative effort that will have the best results when there is involvement and trust amongst everyone. Once the trust is established it will be easier to have an open discussion, and the provider will be better equipped with information from the patient to address underlying issues for being overweight.
However, none of this means much if the patient isn’t fully invested in losing weight. Be prepared to explore and gauge a patient’s readiness and motivation to change. Discuss your concern about their weight, and the impact weight loss would have on their health and quality of life. This is a big step for a patient and if it proves to be successful they won’t come out the same person they went in as. Set goals with your patient, both long and short term. Make them challenging but attainable; a dieter can lose interest with a challenge if it’s too difficult or too easy. It’s a balance. Help your patient identify success and be prepared to offer solutions. Nutrition, behavior modification, exercise assistance — all these and more should be discussed.
Physicians are in a unique position of being able to change lives through obesity treatment. Obesity is the most impactful disease of the 21st century. This is an opportunity that we can’t afford to miss.
Robard Corporation provides customers a comprehensive guide and a video on how to talk to their patients about their weight. Call us for more information about Robard and our guide.
Source: Robard Corporation Business Development Department, 800.222.9201.
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