-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors' beliefs about the
causes of obesity can affect the advice they give to patients,
In an Internet survey of 500 primary-care doctors in the United
States, participants were asked their opinions about the causes of
obesity and about what type of advice they gave to their obese
The investigators found that doctors who believe that
over-eating is a major cause of obesity were much more likely to
advise patients to change their eating habits by reducing portion
sizes, avoiding high-calorie ingredients when cooking and drinking
fewer sugar-sweetened beverages.
Similarly, doctors who believe that sugar-sweetened beverages
are a leading contributor to obesity were much more likely to tell
patients to cut back their consumption of those beverages.
"Eighty-six percent of primary-care physicians indicated that overconsumption of food is a very important cause of obesity, followed by 62 percent of physicians reporting that restaurant or fast-food eating is a very important cause and 60 percent attributing consuming sugar-sweetened beverages as a very important cause," study lead author Sara Bleich, an associate professor in the health policy and management department at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, said in a university news release.
Only a few of the doctors said they believed that genetics,
family history or metabolic problems were important causes of
obesity, according to the study, which was published in the
February issue of the journal
Improved education for doctors about the causes of obesity may
be a good way to increase the amount of nutritional counseling they
give their patients, Bleich suggested. This education should
include practical dietary tips that doctors can easily share with
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
about the causes and consequences of
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