Obesity had been a global pandemic long before COVID came around. The rate of global obesity tripled in size over the last 50 years. Studies show that roughly 35% to 40% of Americans are obese. But when you attempt to talk to someone about their obesity, they usually get defensive and shy away from the topic.
So why do people hate talking about their obesity? Well, the number one reason has to do with their appearance. Obesity makes people look and feel unattractive by society’s standards. But the worst part about obesity isn’t the physical appearance but rather the physical health.
The Negative Impact of Obesity
Obese Americans spend around $147 billion per year on their healthcare, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An obese person pays $1,429 more for their healthcare expenses than a normal-sized person. For someone living paycheck-to-paycheck, that is a lot of money.
There is no doubt that obesity causes health problems. That is why more Americans die from heart disease each year than anything else. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop heart disease because more stress is put on their hearts to pump blood to the rest of the body. If they don’t lose weight, they will likely get a heart attack, stroke, or even kidney failure.
That is only the beginning of the health problems an obese person could develop. They can also get a weak immune system, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, joint disease, diabetes, cancer, and sleep apnea. Doctors using the fee-based care model depend on patients to have lots of health problems because it means they will keep coming back repeatedly for treatment.
For this reason, doctors under the fee-based model will do very little to help their patients lose weight and overcome obesity. Why would they? Patients of normal weight are less likely to have health problems, which means they won’t need to return to the doctor. The only way fee-based doctors can make money is to get return business.
Value-Based Care for Treating Obese Patients
Obese people don’t have to struggle to lose weight. All they need is a doctor who actually cares about helping them lose weight.
Primary Medical Care Center operates a value-based model for treating patients. Our doctors advise patients on how to lose weight and prevent diseases from forming. However, treating obese patients doesn’t mean lecturing them about the importance of diet and exercise. They already know the importance.
We start with a simple conversation with our obese patients. Our primary care doctors might ask, “What are your personal healthcare goals?” or “Why do you want to improve your health?” The idea is to wait for the patient to invite the doctor into a conversation about their obesity. The doctor shouldn’t be the first to engage in that topic, or else it could upset the patient.
The patient may not immediately bring up their obesity. Instead, they might talk about wanting to treat their hypertension, diabetes, or stress. So what you would do is suggest diet and exercise for treating those problems. You could advise a patient to try a plant-based diet to overcome diabetes.
Ask your patient, “What are your favorite fruits and vegetables?” Then, you could introduce their favorite produce into a personalized diet plan based on their answer. That way, they will be more willing to attempt the diet if they know they enjoy the foods in it.
Create a Food Journal
Have your patients create and maintain a food journal that documents the foods they eat each day and how much. Then, ask them to show you their journal each time they see you. This information can help you understand the nutritional value of their foods.
From there, you can educate them on what those foods do to the body, whether good or bad. If there are bad foods listed, kindly suggest some better alternatives with more nutritional value. You could educate them on micronutrients, macronutrients, and how they help the body stay healthy.
Don’t be too aggressive or judgmental with your patients. Just help them understand the health ramifications of eating certain foods. For example, if they can learn why sugary, salty, and high-sodium foods are bad for their body, they will develop a good sense to stay away from those foods.
The value-based model builds trust between the doctor and patient. Because of this, a patient is more likely to take their doctor’s advice regarding diet and exercise. That is why spending quality time with patients and building relationships with them are essential for treating their problems. It is all about how much your patients trust your advice and guidance.
Do you need help managing your obesity or the obesity of your patients? Primary Medical Care Center is available to assist you in any way possible. Contact us at (305) 751-1500 to get started.