Doctor support is essential to patient weight loss

Obese patients who partner with their primary care physicians to lose weight achieve double the results of those who get their support elsewhere, according to a study from Johns Hopkins University published in Patient Education & Counseling.

Previous research demonstrated the power of strong physician-patient relationships in patient compliance and trust. However, Wendy L. Bennett, assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a primary care physician at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and colleagues, sought to determine what aspects of those relationships, if any, might influence weight-loss efforts, according to a post from the Johns Hopkins Hub.

To do so, Bennett and her team reviewed results of Johns Hopkins' Practice-based Opportunities for Weight Reduction (POWER) trial, a two-year, randomized, controlled study funded by the federal government.

At the end of the trial, 347 patients filled out surveys that included questions about how often their providers explained information clearly, listened carefully and showed them respect during the trial. Participants also were asked to rate their physicians' overall helpfulness in their weight-loss efforts.

Although most of the patients reported high-quality relationships with their physicians, that factor alone had almost no bearing on weight loss, according to the study. A high helpfulness rating, on the other hand, translated to an average weight loss of 11 pounds, compared to an average of 5 pounds lost by patients who rated their doctors' helpfulness poorly.

These findings could spur improved reimbursement models for physician involvement in weight-loss interventions, according to Bennett.

To learn more:
- read the post
- here's the abstract