What to expect in this section:
DISCUSS: Weight history and goals
Start the conversation
Below are some examples of how your weight management could start:
Explain that obesity is not your patient’s fault. When discussing obesity with your patient, it is important you help them understand that body weight is influenced by many different factors, including genetics, environment and hormones, and that’s why losing weight and maintaining weight loss may be challenging for people living with obesity.1,2
Take weight history
During your weight management discussion, consider taking your patient’s weight history to understand any potential triggers for their weight gain, their weight loss attempts to date and to discuss any challenges they encountered.
Below are some examples of questions, which could help to initiate
your weight history discussion with your patient:
Set realistic and attainable goals
Once you have a good understanding of the patient’s weight journey so far, you can progress to discussing and setting goals together. Below are some examples of questions, which could support the conversation on goal setting with your patient:
Start by eliciting what your patient’s goals are. By doing this, you can help them to determine realistic and achievable targets. Consider the following:
- Short-term goals
- Long-term goals
Next, together with your patient, explore how they will be able to achieve these goals. The steps should be measurable and build on each other over time.
Lastly, set realistic dates for when your patient will aim to achieve both their short- and longterm goals, and importantly, set expectations that obesity management is a long-term process.3
For more information and talking points, download the ‘5 steps on obesity’ resource, a guide to discussing weight with your patients
1. Wright SM and Aronne LJ. Causes of obesity. Abdominal Imaging. 2012;37:730–732.
2. National Institutes of Health. Clinical Guidelines On The Identification, Evaluation, And Treatment Of Overweight And Obesity In Adults. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf. Last accessed: October 2020.
3. Vallis M, Piccinini-Vallis H, Sharma A, et al. Modified 5As. Can Fam Physician. 2013;59:27–31.
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