Support from health care professionals can help patients achieve clinically significant and maintained weight loss1

Physician talking to overweight patient


Physician-initiated discussions motivate patients to lose weight and change behavior.1,2

  • Research showed that patients are less likely to start the dialogue for many reasons, including:
    • Potential for hearing hurtful comments about their weight3
    • Fear of being blamed for their weight problems4
    • Shame and embarrassment about their weight4
  • To achieve sustainable weight loss, long-term intervention is often required.5


Also in The Science of Obesity:


Related Information

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Learn about techniques such as behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing.

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Video guide on how to discuss weight with patients

Ask, Listen, Inform

Our video, “Discussing Weight With Your Patients,” can help you improve office conversations about obesity.


  1. Loureiro ML, Nayga RM Jr. Obesity, weight loss, and physician’s advice. Soc Sci Med. 2006;62(10):2458-2468.

  2. Rueda-Clausen CF, Benterud E, Bond T, Olszowka R, Vallis MT, Sharma AM. Effect of implementing the 5As of Obesity Management framework on provider-patient interactions in primary care. Clin Obes. 2014;4(1):39-44.

  3. National Institutes of Health. US Department of Health and Human Services. Medical Care for Patients with Obesity. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health; 2003. Updated 2011. NIH publication 03-5335.

  4. Ruelaz AR, Diefenbach P, Simon B, Lanto A, Arterburn D, Shekelle PG. Perceived barriers to weight management in primary care—perspectives of patients and providers. J Gen Intern Med. 2007;22(4):518-522.

  5. Jensen MD, Ryan DH, Apovian CM, et al; American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines; Obesity Society. 2013 AHA/ACC/TOS guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and The Obesity Society. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;63(25 pt B):2985-3023.