It’s Not What You Say, But The Way That You Say It

April 4th, 2011
It’s Not What You Say, But The Way That You Say It

Recent research has found that it’s not what doctor’s tell their patients about weight loss and dieting, but how the say it.

It seems that if doctors start cajoling or forcing their patients to lose weight, they are more likely to ignore what they are told. However if doctors take their patients’ views into account and collaborate with them on treatment, then the patient is more likely to do what’s asked of them.

The research took place over an 18 month period from about January 2007 and July 2008. Conversations with 461 patients were recorded during weight loss discussions with their primary care doctors in the USA.

The researchers made a note of 4 particular health related concerns – nutrition, physical activity, body mass index and weight. Three months later, the researchers asked if the conversations influenced weight loss.

Using a rating scale to determine differences between motivational and non motivational interviewing, the researchers found 321 out of the 461 patients did at least listen to what was said to them.

Using motivational techniques, doctors also managed to get the patient themselves to work out what they needed to do. In short, the patient’s own desires is considered far more important than any advice the doctor gives. As such, patients are more readily accepting of their own failings, and are prepared to take action.

When asked about the findings of the study, Dr. Nicolas Rodondi, who is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, said: “The timing of three months is instructive, but it remains to be proven whether it will translate to long-term weight loss.”

By contrast, the lead researcher told reporters: “When it comes to behaviour or change, the patient is the expert, not the doctor.”

She added: “The whole point is to help the patient solve the problem himself. Doctors have to see the difference between behavioural counselling and the rest of their job.”

Leave a Reply

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved