Study finds physicians’ advice leads to more effective weight loss

If you've been thinking you might need to lose some weight, but haven't consulted with a doctor about it, a new study indicates that you might want to do that sooner rather than later. According to researchers from the University of Georgia, people who were advised by their doctors to lose weight were able to lose a greater average amount than those who didn't talk to their doctors about the topic.

The researchers used a national data set from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that included data on whether patients were advised to lose weight by their physicians and whether or not they requested the advice. After controlling for the effects of factors like age and socioeconomic status, they found that women who were advised on how to lose weight by their physicians lost an average of 10 pounds over a year, while men who received doctors' recommendations lost an average of 12 pounds. 

According to lead study author Joshua Berning of the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, these results don't show the full scope of the effects of physician advice, since it often ends up preventing further weight loss with age rather than causing net weight loss. Berning advises patients to talk explicitly with their doctors about weight loss practices that are right for them.

"If I talk to a physician, he or she can tell me about my current health and my health trajectory. Oftentimes we have a sense of complacency with our own health. A good physician can help us understand what kind of health trajectory we are on and how we can improve it," said Berning in a statement.

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