Talking to Your Doctor About Obesity
You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with obesity. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
Tips for Getting Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to give more details.
- Write down your questions so you do not forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing.
- Ask for help if you need it. Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What should I do to lower my weight?
- Is a health problem causing my excess weight?
About Your Risk of Health Problems
- Am I at risk for health problems from my weight? Are there any signs? Which ones cause the most harm?
- What else can I do besides exercising and eating right?
- Which treatment options are best for me?
- Should I see a dietitian to get help with meal planning?
- Do I need to see a specialist?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Can friends, family members, or other care staff join our treatment talks? They will help me change my habits.
- What changes do I need to make in my diet?
- Do commercial weight-loss programs work?
- What are the best exercises to help me lose weight?
- Can you refer me to an athletic trainer or fitness facility in my area?
- Where can I get more information about weight loss?
About Your Outlook
- Can you refer me to a counselor who helps people with obesity?
- Do you know of any support groups?
- Heymsfield SB, Wadden TA. Mechanisms, pathophysiology, and management of obesity. N Engl J Med. 2017;376(3):254-266.
- Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed May 6, 2022.
- Obesity. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/nutritional-disorders/obesity-and-the-metabolic-syndrome/obesity. Accessed May 6, 2022.
- Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/obesity-in-adults. Accessed May 6, 2022.
- Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. https://www.dynamed.com/condition/obesity-in-children-and-adolescents. Accessed May 6, 2022.
- Treatment. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/treatment. Accessed May 6, 2022.
- Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
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