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New Survey Reveals that Communication Breakdown Between Physicians and Patients Hinders Weight Loss Efforts

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Nov. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey conducted by Eisai Inc., in partnership with the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) and The Obesity Society (TOS), reveals a disconnect between patients and physicians when discussing weight loss. The survey found that only 56 percent of overweight or obese adults report ever having discussed weight with their doctor, yet all physicians surveyed say they counsel their overweight and obese patients about diet and exercise. Less than four in 10 of those adults said they have been told to lose weight.

The survey was conducted to better understand if the communication about weight loss between patients and physicians was taking place. The two-part study consisted of a consumer survey of 1,009 adults and a survey of 501 physicians.

Overview of Survey Findings:

  • Nearly all physicians (92 percent) say they discuss Body Mass Index (BMI) with their overweight/obese patients, yet two out of three adults (67 percent) who have discussed weight with their physician say BMI was rarely or never part of that discussion
  • Nearly all physicians say they offer weight loss tools, but many patients (37 percent) believe their physicians can't help them lose weight
  • Less than two in 10 Americans (17 percent) know their BMI, and a disconnect exists in understanding what BMI means. More people think they have a normal BMI than actually do (43 percent versus 36 percent), and while two-thirds have a high BMI, only half of them know it.
  • Although many patients feel hopeful (41 percent) and motivated (20 percent) following a weight loss discussion with their physician, some adults also reported feelings of guilt (20 percent) and embarrassment (18 percent).
  • "With obesity rates continuing to escalate across the nation, improving the patient/physician relationship is critically important in the evaluation and treatment of patients who are affected by obesity," said Joe Nadglowski, president and CEO of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), a national non-profit organization dedicated to giving a voice to those affected by obesity. "The survey results provide tangible evidence supporting what we've been hearing from patients and physicians for years.  We need to educate patients to have the conversation about their weight and ask the right questions so they leave the doctor's office feeling empowered to take steps toward managing their weight. We also need to encourage physicians to facilitate the weight discussion with their patients – as it is often a difficult topic to discuss."

    Expert Panel to Convene:
    In an effort to initiate conversations about weight management, Eisai will convene a multidisciplinary panel of experts from a variety of medical, psychological/behavioral and patient-focused organizations in early 2014 to review the survey findings along with related literature. Based on this review, the group will develop an action plan outlining the tools and resources needed by physicians and patients to foster better dialogue about weight management in the clinical setting.

    "In this last year alone, we've seen tremendous strides made in the way society talks and thinks about obesity. There's been recognition of obesity as a disease and advances in medicine to help those struggling with obesity. However, the conversations happening in the exam room have yet to catch up," says Francesca Dea, executive director of The Obesity Society (TOS), a professional organization dedicated to the study of obesity.  "Whether the root cause here is a lack of understanding, different personalities, the psychology of having these uncomfortable conversations or a combination of factors, the panel's goal will help make physician-patient conversations more productive and ultimately help to improve the care provided to patients."

    Obesity Epidemic:
    Obesity is a serious and growing public health issue. The prevalence of obesity in the United States has more than doubled among adults over the past thirty years. Approximately one-third of American adults are classified as overweight and another one-third are affected by obesity. This dramatic rise in obesity has had a major impact on other diseases, ranging from an increased risk of premature death to serious diet-related chronic diseases, including: type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. 

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    About the Surveys
    GfK Custom Research LLC, Public Affairs and Corporate Communications Group conducted this study on behalf of Eisai Inc. The study consisted of a consumer and physician portion.

    A total of 1,009 consumer interviews were conducted among adults age 18 and older. Among the respondents, 36 percent were normal weight, 33 percent were overweight, 29 percent were obese and 2 percent were underweight. Fifty-two percent were female and 48 percent male. The mean age was 47 years old.  Respondents were from the South (37 percent), West (24 percent), Midwest (21 percent) and Northeast (18 percent). Sixty-seven percent were White, 15 percent Hispanic, 12 percent Black and 5 percent other.

    The consumer study was conducted using the KnowledgePanel, a group that takes part in national polls and surveys. Use of the KnowledgePanel assures representative samples that are statistically valid and projectable to the population of adults 18+ years old. The margin of error for this study is +/- 3.8 percent. The consumer study was co-sponsored by the Obesity Action Coalition. Interviews took place June 12 to June 21, 2013.

    A second study was conducted among 501 board-certified physicians in family practice/internal medicine (n=301), endocrinology (n=100) or cardiology (n=100). The physician study was conducted using GfK's Healthcare panel. To qualify, physicians had to spend less than 50 percent of their time treating patients in hospitals and be practicing in their specialty between three to 35 years. The physician study was co-sponsored by the Obesity Society. Interviews took place between June 10 and June 21, 2013.

    About Eisai Inc.
    At Eisai Inc., human health care is our goal. We give our first thoughts to patients and their families, and helping to increase the benefits health care provides.  As the U.S. pharmaceutical subsidiary of Tokyo-based Eisai Co., Ltd., we have a passionate commitment to patient care that is the driving force behind our efforts to help address unmet medical needs.  We are a fully integrated pharmaceutical business with discovery, clinical, manufacturing and marketing capabilities.  Our key areas of commercial focus include oncology and specialty care (Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and metabolic disorders).  To learn more about Eisai Inc., please visit us at

    Eisai has affiliates that are part of a global product creation organization that includes R&D facilities in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as a global demand chain organization that includes manufacturing facilities in Maryland and North Carolina.  Eisai's global areas of R&D focus include neuroscience; oncology; metabolic disorders; vascular, inflammatory and immunological reaction: and antibody-based programs.

    About the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)
    The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is a nearly 50,000 member-strong 501(c)(3) National non-profit organization dedicated to giving a voice to the individual affected by the disease of obesity and helping individuals along their journey toward better health through education, advocacy and support. Our core focuses are to raise awareness and improve access to the prevention and treatment of obesity, provide evidence-based education on obesity and its treatments, fight to eliminate weight bias and discrimination, elevate the conversation of weight and its impact on health and offer a community of support for the individual affected. For more information, please visit

    About The Obesity Society (TOS)
    The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information visit: Inquiries Investor Inquiries Marcia Diljak 

    Alex ScottEisai Inc.

     Eisai Inc.(201) 746-2236 

    (201) 746-2177 

    SOURCE Eisai Inc.
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