November 8

Changing How We Talk About Obesity — A Conversation With Dr. Sowa

By fitness

November 8, 2022




Conversations about weight problems might be difficult for each healthcare suppliers (HCPs) and people looking for remedy for weight and weight problems well being issues. Some girls really feel that their HCP makes use of language that suggests judgment, whereas others might really feel that their HCP doesn’t give them sufficient info to handle their weight.

We reached out to Alexandra Sowa, M.D. for her tips about how healthcare suppliers and their sufferers can have extra productive conversations round weight problems. Sowa is a board-certified doctor of inside medication specializing in preventive well being, vitamin and weight problems medication. She can be medical professor of medication at NYU Langone Health and a member of HealthyWomen’s Women’s Health Advisory Council (WHAC).

This interview has been flippantly edited for readability and size.

HealthyWomen: How can we transfer towards a person-first vocabulary when discussing weight problems? [Editor’s Note:People-first language puts the person before the disability or disease, and describes what a person has, not who a person is. It does not label someone with their disease.]

Alexandra Sowa: I feel we will transfer towards a person-first vocabulary when discussing weight problems by simply remembering that the particular person in entrance of us is at all times an individual and never a illness. So I do not speak about an individual with hypertension as a hypertensive. I'll say, Let's talk about your hypertension. And the identical must be utilized for extra weight. Excess weight/weight problems is a illness. We ought to bear in mind it is not an individual, it is only a illness state.

HealthyWomen: How can we assist others perceive that weight problems is a power situation?

Alexandra Sowa: Again, I really like to return again to the comparability to hypertension. So, typically in medication, we're very comfy prescribing somebody a medicine to assist convey their blood strain all the way down to aim, and we actually do not suppose twice about it. We may even counsel on way of life adjustments, elevated bodily exercise, higher food regimen, decreased salt, however we'll at all times talk about a medicine possibility if it helps them get to aim. And the identical must be true of weight problems. We ought to counsel in all points, however we should always at all times think about medicines if it is applicable. And we should not have a look at this as a scarcity of willpower or one thing that folks have carried out to themselves. We should not think about this an emotional state. This is a illness, like the rest we deal with.

HealthyWomen: What are some methods we may help HCPs talk about remedy choices for weight problems?

Alexandra Sowa: One approach to assist folks talk about remedy choices for weight problems is to be open to studying — after which open to having a dialogue. So many healthcare suppliers and physicians simply actually did not study something about this discipline of their schooling. And the willingness to take heed to others, to reframe your beliefs and to interact in persevering with medical schooling is actually vital. Then, after you have a basis for information within the discipline, you possibly can really talk about choices along with your sufferers or simply really feel comfy broaching it, discussing it after which referring out to a specialist.

HealthyWomen: How can HCPs promote each physique acceptance and remedy of weight problems to their sufferers?

Alexandra Sowa: I don't consider that these two issues are mutually unique. It's actually vital to deal with folks with respect and to comprehend that, once more, it is a illness, not a scarcity of willpower — one thing that these sufferers have or have not carried out of their lifetimes. And we should always by no means speak about weight when it comes to look or being skinny. We ought to at all times body it when it comes to being wholesome in order that we will nonetheless love our our bodies, however we might be [in] a more healthy physique with weight reduction.

HealthyWomen: What can HCPs ask their sufferers about their weight with out stigma, judgment or bias?

Alexandra Sowa: By being open and sincere, and by being very mild when we have now conversations about weight. For instance, “Can we discuss your weight? I‘ve noticed that during our last visit two years ago prior to the pandemic, you were 20 pounds less. I really understand it. This has been a stressful time. Have you thought about how you would like to manage this?” Just asking open-ended questions, asking for permission. These are all essential in establishing a rapport with a affected person in order that they will even settle for the information or the referral that you simply might need.

HealthyWomen: What can HCPs do to assist deal with the weight problems epidemic?

Alexandra Sowa: I feel that schooling is the inspiration on each the supplier facet and on the affected person facet. We have so many new instruments at our disposal, we should always do not forget that there isn't any one measurement matches all in terms of weight reduction. It ought to by no means be a “my way or the highway” strategy. It ought to at all times be shared decision-making between the affected person and the supplier.

This useful resource was created with help from Novo Nordisk.



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