Coach Kelli: Overweight physicians are more likely to prescribe drugs for weight loss

If you haven’t already noticed, doctors spend an average of 7 minutes with a patient. In that time, the focus is primarily to diagnose and prescribe something to help your issues. It temporarily cures the symptoms, but leaves underlying problems that lend to reoccurring sickness, fatigue, weight gain, depression, anxiousness and other side effects.  This system is failing us and even failing doctors.  Almost one half of doctors were diagnosed as overweight in a recent study.

A total of 456 male physicians, 24-84 years of age, were studied for their coronary risk factors.  42 percent were classified as overweight, and five percent were considered obese.  A new study shows that if your doctor is overweight there is a lower chance of them giving you tips to maintain a healthy body weight.

Little time is afforded towards giving you suggestions to prevent future illness or for living in a healthy disease free body.  A recent study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that overweight physicians are less likely to diagnose patients as overweight and only 18% will engage obese patients in weight loss discussions.   Overweight physicians will diagnose a patient as obese if they perceive them to have a greater body mass index (BMI) than their own.

Physicians with normal BMI more frequently reported discussing weight loss with patients than overweight or obese physicians.  Overweight doctors do not perceive their weight loss advice as trustworthy, according to Sara Bleich, PhD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management.  “In addition, obese physicians had greater confidence in prescribing weight loss medications.” Side effects from weight loss medications include death and 95% of participants regain the weight they lost and gain more.  Is not a long term solution for the masses!

It would stand to reason that doctors should be held to a higher standard of modeling exemplary lifestyles and to serve as role models for patients, however I am certainly not putting doctors down or judging them.  I am also not criticizing overweight doctors, as their lifestyles lend them to being unhealthy.  It’s ironic that it’s the long hours, night shifts, stressful life altering decisions to make, hospital cafeteria food, being too exhausted for exercise and being around other ill people, that makes it a greater challenge for them to be fit and healthy themselves. 

I remember standing at the head of a patient that was having his chest sawed open for a double bypass cardiac surgery, when above the smell of the burning flesh and bone, was the aroma of cigarette smoke coming from the cardiologist.  I was 22 years old at the time, but it was a moment that left an impression that doctors are real people who have real decisions to make about their health just like us. 

The fact that even doctors are becoming overweight, having heart attacks and dealing with diabetes personally shows that lifestyle decisions go well above knowledge and involve emotion, habit, beliefs, lifestyle and commitment.  Knowing to eat less and exercise more is not enough today.  Many factors go into living in a lean body and enjoying ultra-health, including productive physical movement, restful sleep, stress management, superior food quality, hormones and detoxification.  The great news is that it’s possible for all of us.

The body is an amazing miracle and at any time will respond to how we treat it – good or bad.  It’s the perfect time to begin regenerating health cells, releasing fat, eliminating toxins, getting your heart pumping, boosting energy, building strong sexy muscle and walking in ultimate health.  We all have that same opportunity every day and I invite everyone to grab hold of their common sense and exercise habits and thoughts that are in the best interest of the one body they have.

We just wrapped up our January Argyle Adventure Boot Camp and on the last day as campers were checking in, the average weight loss was 11 pounds, with 7 less inches and 5% less body fat. One 60 year old male who completed his first camp said he feels the best he has in decades.  He lost 11 pounds, played a quarter of basketball for the first time in his life, has energy to spare and had fun. He plans on attending 5 days a week for a long time!  Another lady got off of anti-depressant medication and another said, “Diabetes is no longer an issue for me”.

With the belief that’s its possible, the right program and the accountability to follow through, everyone can make positive change regardless of their current state of health – or lack of it.  Lifestyle diseases are now the number one killers, but it does not have to be that way.

I invite everyone, including doctors, to commit to living in excellent health. 

Kelli Calabrese is a clinical exercise physiologist with specialty training in cardiac rehabilitation, weight management and nutritional consulting.  She is the coach for Argyle Adventure Boot Camp, owner of the Divine Health Studio and hosts her own iTV show with inCommand Broadcasting.  She is the fitness expert for Montel Williams and a consultant with Isagenix. She is also a founder of Beyond Organic – home delivered organic foods.  You can see more at or call 817-490-1296.



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