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Empathy goes a long way in weight loss discussions.

Pollak KI, Østbye T, Alexander SC, Gradison M, Bastian LA, Brouwer RJ, Lyna P. Empathy goes a long way in weight loss discussions. The Journal of family practice. 2007 Dec 1; 56(12):1031-6.

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PURPOSE: This study explores how weight-related topics are discussed between physicians and their overweight and obese female patients. METHODS: We surveyed and audio-recorded preventive health and chronic care visits with 25 overweight and obese female patients. We coded both for quantity (content and time) of weight-related discussions and quality (adherence to Motivational Interviewing [MI] techniques). We then tested correlations of these measures with patients' reported attempts to lose weight, change diet, and change exercise patterns 1 month after the visit. RESULTS: Weight was routinely addressed (19 of 25 encounters). Patients usually initiated the topic (67% of time). Physicians' use of MI techniques resulted in patients attempting to lose weight and changing their exercise patterns. CONCLUSION: Physicians may benefit from MI training to help patients lose weight.

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