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How can I suggest losing weight as treatment for disease?

Asking permission to discuss weight with a patient can be done in the context of presenting a menu of treatment or management options

Weight management should usually not be the first treatment offered when a patient is seeking help for a co-morbid chronic disease.

Asking permission to discuss weight with a patient can be done in the context of presenting a menu of treatment or management options for patients with a chronic disease.

Clinician advice

For example, for a clinician with a patient who has knee osteoarthritis and is overweight or obese the discussion may sound like this:

“As we discussed, there are a number of different treatments that can be effective for knee osteoarthritis — strengthening exercise, pain coping strategies, modifying activity, and losing weight. And each of these options work to different extents in different people.

“We’ve been working on the exercise component of your management plan for your osteoarthritis. Is weight management something you would like to discuss with me at all?”

Or…

“Would it be OK if I also asked you about weight management to help your knee problem?”

Practice nurse advice

For a practice nurse with a patient who has diabetes and is overweight or obese the discussion may sound like this:

“It’s going to be important for you to manage your blood sugar levels due to your diabetes. There are medications which we can give you to help with this, and we will discuss the different options. All of them will need you to self-monitor you blood sugar regularly at home.

“There is also evidence that other lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise, stopping smoking and managing weight, can also be very beneficial for diabetes. Would you like to discuss any of these lifestyle changes today too?”

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EduWeight: Weight Management for Adult Patients with Chronic Disease

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