San Diego, CA, May 5, 2011 A study published in the June 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine examined the association between patientphysician gender concordance and weight-related counseling in obese individuals. Investigators from the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University found that obese male patients seeing male physicians had higher odds of receiving weight-related counseling than obese women seeing a female physician.
Commenting on the study, Octavia Pickett-Blakely, MD, MHS, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, observed that "Perhaps societal norms linking physical fitness to masculinity leads male physicians to view obese men as more receptive to weight-related counseling and contributes to open dialogue about weight in male gender-concordant relationships. The findings of this study should heighten clinicians' awareness of how the personal attributes of physicians and patients may influence obesity care. Future studies should objectively measure weight-related communication (e.g., direct observation, audio tapes) in gender-concordant and gender-discordant patientphysician encounters, and explore the potential role of physicians' explicit and implicit attitudes regarding obesity and gender, in weight-related counseling for obese patients."
The study revealed that male patients had about a 60% higher chance of receiving diet/nutrition advice and about a 76% higher chance of getting exercise counseling from male doctors compared to female patients receiving care from female doctors. In female patient/female physician pairs and female/male pairs of both types, there were no significant differences in any form of weight-related counseling.
The finding that all patients had similar odds of receiving weight-related counseling when a female patient or female physician was part of the pair may result in part from the perception that women are more likely to be dissatisfied with th
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