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Is Your Doctor NOT Talking Nutrition?

>> Monday, January 22, 2018

Everyone out there: I would like you to raise your hand if your doctor has NOT recently talked to you about good nutrition.  If you have your hand up, you are not alone - only about 12% of office visits include counselling about diet, despite there almost always being a good reason to talk about nutrition (eg diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and so forth).

Doctors out there - do you feel like you don't do a great job in counselling your patients on good nutrition?   If so, you are definitely not alone.

A recent Viewpoint paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association uncovers some important issues that limit good nutritional counselling in the doctor's office.

Issues cited that limit doctors in providing nutritional counselling:
  • Doctors receive very little nutritional training in medical school. 
  • Limitations of time in an appointment. 
  • Limitations in reimbursement (pay) for doctors to provide nutrition counselling.
  • Frustration in trying to counsel on healthy food choices when our environment is so full of unhealthy choices.
Here are some easy steps that clinicians can take to improve nutritional counselling: 

1. Start the conversation - check out this easy to use tool, which contains eight quick and easy questions you can ask, with suggestions for reasonable changes that you could recommend. 

2.  Use the 5As of Obesity to help start a conversation when you note that your patient carries excess weight. 

3.  Focus on small steps - use the tool for suggestions. 

4.  Don't do it alone (if possible) - nutrition counselling and weight management require multidisciplinary support!  Engage any support you have to help provide your patient the help they need from various avenues: dietitian, nutritionist, psychologist, health/weight management classes - anything you can find to provide your patient with lots of health care provider time to guide them through their journey. 

Follow me on twitter! @drsuepedersen © 2018


leslie @ definitely not martha February 6, 2018 at 8:40 AM  

I was frankly appalled when someone I know was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and not provided with any formal guidance or referred to a Registered Dietitian, etc. Basically just put on Metformin and given a kit to test sugars.

This person's spouse has since been frantically googling diabetes-friendly recipes and is really nervous about cooking for them and I was just so shocked that there was no support provided to assist in this. I feel like if someone has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, especially in a case where there are clear problems with the person's diet and they have severe obesity, they should be given a lot of guidance to help them transition their diet to one that supports their health.

Loving your blog - really great information!!!


I am excited that you have arrived at my site, and I hope you are too - consider this the first step towards a Healthier New You!! As a medical doctor, Endocrinologist, and obesity specialist, I am absolutely passionate about helping people with weight management. Though there is certainly no magic cure for obesity, there IS a successful treatment plan out there for you - it is all about understanding the elements that contribute to your personal weight struggle, and then finding the treatment plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle. The way to finding your personal solution is to learn as much as you can about obesity: how our toxic environment has shaped us into an overweight society; the diversity of contributors to obesity; and what the treatment options out there are really all about. Knowledge Is Power!!

Are you ready to change your life? Let's begin our journey together, towards a healthier, happier you!!

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