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About Why Weight?

Created by the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, the Why Weight? tool is a guide for health care professionals to initiate effective conversations about weight and health with their patients.

Weight is a complex and sensitive issue, and conversations about weight can be challenging. Many factors are at play, not least of which may include feelings of failure, shame, and concerns about being judged by health care providers. Many providers have concerns about how to begin conversations about weight, what words to use, and how to communicate about weight while supporting their patients in ways that are empowering and nonjudgemental.

Providers report minimal, if any, training on obesity, inadequate resources for effective conversations, and insufficient clinical time to devote to conversations about weight. Read More

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Dr.Dietz Dr. Kahan


Why talk about weight?

Many patients want and expect weight loss guidance from health care providers. Weight-related discussions with providers can influence patient engagement in weight loss efforts.
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Why isn't addressing obesity about eating less and exercising more?

Understanding the complexity of obesity is an important prerequisite for productive conversations about weight.
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What are the barriers to talking about weight?

Lack of time, reimbursement, training, and effective tools and treatments are among them.
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Why don't patients with obesity seek help?

Many patients avoid or delay medical treatment due to concerns that their providers will not treat them with compassion and respect, or that their struggles will be dismissed as “not trying hard enough." Read More

What is holding a patient back from addressing their excess weight?

Most patients with obesity have tried — often repeatedly — to lose weight and improve their health. At any given time, patients may be in one of five stages of behavior change. Read More

Why should I attempt to undertake a disease as broad and challenging as obesity?

Obesity treatment may feel like a futile undertaking. Yet, there is a range of effective and evidence-based treatments available. Read More

What can I learn about my patient to help us engage in a productive discussion?

Health behavior decisions are heavily influenced by our environments and social norms.
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What are some important considerations I need to know before I talk to my patients about weight?

Recognize that weight is about health, not appearance. Be aware that weight is a personal and often sensitive topic and tailor your interactions and words in ways that are productive, not stigmatizing. Read More