The wheels in my head never stop. I’ve been reading NPR’s series on the obesity rates in the U.S. and their repercussions and I can’t help but want to run out and do my part. Maybe it’s the dietitian in me or perhaps my bleeding heart. Either way, the wheels are turning.
One article that struck a chord with me personally was, Why Doctors and Patients Talk Around Our Growing Waistlines.
I am overweight. Today I’m 171.6 pounds which at my height of 5’9” puts my BMI at 25.3. On any given day my weight ranges 169-175 pounds, putting my BMI fluctuating between the upper range of healthy, 24.9, and overweight, 25.8. My highest weight was in college, 184 pounds, giving me a BMI of 27.2.
I definitely dread visits to the doctor. One reason for that has always been because I’m convinced they are going to tactlessly tell me I’m fat. Funny thing is, in my adult life, a doctor never has. Perhaps I’m scarred from childhood?
I don’t remember the specifics of my weight as a kid, but I do know I was what people affectionately call a “chunky kid.” I remember the pediatrician giving me generalized advice regarding my weight; eat smaller portions of mac and cheese, play a sport, or don’t eat French fries. I only understood one part of why he was telling me these things, I was fat and that was bad. That’s got to be when my disdain for doctors started.
Now I read this article and it is criticizing doctors for “talking around” overweight and obesity. Meanwhile I stress about them actually addressing it! Odd.
According to the article, two thirds of doctors don’t address it with their patients. Has anyone considered that they don’t know how? Obviously my pediatrician didn’t.
It requires compassion and sensitivity to talk about what some consider their biggest life disappointment. Time is also necessary to address food, sleep, exercise, stress and all the other things that contribute to weight. And you can’t forget the counseling and coaching skills to help a person find the motivation within themselves. Perhaps in the midst of learning all a doctor needs to learn during medical school, they don’t have time to learn these things.
Do you know who does have time? A person that actually spends all their time in school learning these things! A registered dietitian!
Perhaps all doctors need to learn is to ask for help when they need it and make a referral to an RD?
If you are reading this, the RD in me (and my bleeding heart), want you to be healthy. I want you to live a long life free from heart disease and diabetes. I want you to be able to walk around the block without being out of breath. I want you to walk into a grocery store with the desire to buy wholesome foods. I really do.
I hope this blog inspires to start or continue on the never ending journey, to better health. I hope we can do it together.