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How can I broach the topic of losing weight?

The World Obesity Federation suggests some general statements that can be used or modified to open up a discussion about a person's weight

The World Obesity Federation suggests some general statements that can be used or modified to open up a discussion about weight.

  1. Ask permission: “Is it OK if I ask you about your weight?”
  2. Start with the broader topic of health and lifestyle: “Do you have any concerns about your health in general?
  3. Ask about feelings: “How do you feel about your weight?”
  4. Use the third person: “Were you aware of the link between xx condition and weight?”
  5. Make positive assumptions: “What things do you do to keep healthy?” or “How important is being healthy to you?”
    Reference: Scope Obesity Training Program

Key phrases

Below are some other phrases you can try. We suggest exploring these to see which work best for you. Say them out loud and find words that you feel comfortable with and that fit your natural communication style.

"Earlier in our treatment we touched on the fact that for some people losing small amounts of weight can be very helpful in reducing or eliminating their symptoms." "Would you like to discuss weight management as part of your treatment plan with me?" "Would it be OK if we discussed weight management as part of your treatment plan with me?" "Are you comfortable discussing weight management as part of your treatment plan with me?" "This is something we can look at discussing or addressing if that is what you would like to do today or in the future. What do you think about that?" "You mentioned earlier you were carrying a few extra pounds. Is that something you want to discuss further with me and how that might impact your symptoms?"

Is weight a priority?

It can also be helpful for some people to quantify how much of a priority addressing weight is at a point in time in order to assess their readiness to change:

"On a scale of 0-10, how important is it to you to lose weight at this time given everything else that is going on in your life?" "On a scale of 0-10, how confident are you that you can lose weight at this time?"

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EduWeight: Weight Management for Adult Patients with Chronic Disease

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