Weight Benefit Seen With Motivational Interviewing

Approach during doctor visits associated with weight loss in overweight and obese patients
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- During visits with overweight patients, using motivational interviewing techniques while discussing weight may encourage weight loss, according to research published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Kathryn I. Pollak, Ph.D., of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues analyzed data from 40 primary care physicians and 461 of their visits with overweight or obese patients, which were audio recorded.

The researchers found that physicians discussed weight with their patients in 69 percent of encounters, taking a mean of 3.3 minutes to discuss weight-related topics in each encounter. However, no difference in weight loss three months after the visit was noted between patients whose physicians did discuss weight and those whose physicians didnt. Patients whose physicians used techniques consistent with motivational interviewing lost weight; use of techniques inconsistent with motivational interviewing was associated with weight maintenance or gain.

"Results of the current study indicate that physicians may have the power with their words to help patients change. When physicians discuss weight in a way that is collaborative, supports patient autonomy, and allows the patient to be the driver of change, the patient may be more likely to change," the authors write.

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