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Part A: Ben and the GP

Watch the GP discuss the topic of weight with his patient, Ben.
[Scenario 1 - Dismissive] GP: OK, Ben that medical certificate shouldn’t be a problem for your cold, and that should clear up in a few days.
BEN: Great.
GP: Just give it some rest, and keep your liquids up. Another thing that I wouldn’t mind having a talk to you about, I’ve noticed, the last few times that you’ve been in, you’ve been gaining a fair bit of weight. That’s something that’s bothering you at all?
BEN: Noticed, but my mates have put on weight. I didn’t think it was a big deal.
GP: OK, so you’re not that worried about it.
BEN: No.
GP: OK. Look, it’s not healthy gaining that sort of weight in that sort of time. It’s just not healthy. So is there any sort of thing in your family, your parents, sort of heavy-set as well or–
BEN: They got a bit heavier in they’re older age.
GP: OK, so they’ve got a bit of a history of that, as well. What about exercise, your lifestyle, what sort of things do you do for exercise?
BEN: I’m pretty busy. I’m a tradie, I’m a plumber. So I’m on my feet all day.
GP: How’s your diet?
BEN: I only eat take away food.
GP: OK, So you eat a lot of takeaway. Yeah, that’s not going to help either. Also– drinks like this that I’ve noticed you’ve got here, how many of those would you have a day?
BEN: Three to five a day.
GP: Three to five? There’s a lot of sugar in those. That’ll be fattening you up a fair bit. So I reckon just get on some sort of diet, lose some weight, and you’ll feel a lot better. [Scenario 2 - Brochure] OK, Ben, sorry about your cold that you’ve got there, but I’ll sort out that medical certificate, give you a couple of days off.
BEN: That’s all right.
GP: And that should be enough to sort of knock it on the head, and get plenty of rest. Try to keep your liquids up. There’s something else I wouldn’t mind discussing, while you here. I’ve noticed, over the last few times you’ve been in, that you’ve been putting on a little bit of weight. Is that something you’ve noticed or has bothered you at all? [AN ALTERNATE APPROACH] I’ve got a thing here. I’ve got a brochure, here, it’s called Healthy Eating for Adults, and it’s put out by the Government, I think. Why don’t you have a read of that? That will have some ideas on the things you can look at the diet and, you know, change.
Just basically do what it says, and–
BEN: Yeah.
GP: –you should make an improvement.
BEN: Sure.
GP: All right? And we’ll check it again next time. [Scenario 3 - Referral] Ben that’s no problems. I’ll get you a medical certificate for your cold.
BEN: Right.
GP: Couple of days that should clear up nicely. Just get good rest and take it easy for a while.
BEN: Thanks.
GP: There’s something else that I wouldn’t mind discussing, if you’re up for it. The last few times that you’ve come in, I’ve noticed just a little bit of weight gain over the last sort of year or so. Is that something we can talk about? [AN ALTERNATE APPROACH] Probably the best people to talk about diet, and things like that, with is someone like a dietitian. They would have all the facts and figures on things like your juice, food, versus your energy drinks, things like that.
BEN: Yeah.
GP: And they could also perhaps look at the rest of your diet, you know, day by day, and try and work with you in sort of maybe substituting things, things that are achievable for you, that you can change. And perhaps, you know, help reduce that weight gain. Would that be something you be interested in at all?
BEN: Yeah, of course. It’s probably worth nipping it in the bud, before it gets any worse.

Watch the GP discuss the topic of weight with his patient, Ben.

While you’re watching, reflect on the GP’s approach to the consultation with Ben throughout each scenario, note any aspects you think could be improved and consider the following questions:

  • What is the health professional’s role in addressing weight management in any healthcare setting?

  • What type of skills and confidence do you need to develop to initiate a conversation with a patient regarding their weight management?

  • What are the real-world motivators and barriers for GPs to bring up the topic of weight management with patients?

Talking point

After watching, within the Comments, consider sharing with other learners your thoughts on the GP’s consultation with Ben and then respond to the following questions:

  • Imagine Ben had come to see you for a health issue. Would you have raised the issue of his weight? Why/why not?

  • If you had raised the topic of weight, what would have been your approach? What have you found to be effective (or ineffective) in your practice?

Don’t forget to contribute to the discussion by reviewing the comments made by other learners, making sure you provide constructive feedback and commentary.

Remember you can also ‘Like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.

Managing comments

Comments on a step can be ‘filtered’ which helps you access them in a way that’s best for you. You can do this by selecting comments by ‘All comments’, ‘Bookmarked’, ‘Your comments’ or ‘Following’ from the drop-down menu in the comments section of the step. You can can also sort by ‘Newest’, ‘Oldest’ or ‘Most liked’.

You can also bookmark comments to remind yourself of certain contributions that you might wish to refer back to at a later stage.

Mentioning other learners

When replying to a comment, you can also mention other learners that are taking part in the comment thread. You can do this by entering the learner’s profile name as part of your reply. For example, @User3320607 That’s an excellent description! @User4499578 What do you think?

Please note, you can only mention others who are in the thread and cannot use the mention functionality in stand alone comments.

This article is from the free online

Food as Medicine: Talking about Weight

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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