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Extra pounds, and attitudes about them, can affect doctor-patient relationships

October 22, 2009 | 11:23 am

Stethoscope Doctors can be fairly significant, one would think, in helping people combat obesity-related health problems. But a good working relationship usually begins with respect. And that might be a stumbling block.

In a new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report on their questioning of  238 patients -- and their physicians -- from 14 medical offices about their encounters. The patients for whom doctors said they had little respect just happened to have higher body-mass index scores. 

Here's the news release. The study is to appear in the November issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

And here's a recent L.A. Times column from Dr. Valerie Ulene suggesting that doctors might be at least partly to blame for those weight problems: What the doc doesn't say: You're overweight

Plus, an article exploring the effect of a physician's excess weight on patients: Does a doctor's weight matter?

Apparently, attitudes about weight can affect both sides of the doctor-patient relationship.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Daniel Acker / Bloomberg