Sometimes it can feel like finding a healthcare provider who understands weight management is like finding a needle in a haystack. If you feel like your weight may be impacting your health, it is important to address it with your doctor. However, some doctors tread lightly on this topic or seem to offer little practical advice and more “generic diet advice” than anything.
If you have yet to find a healthcare provider to have this conversation with, you’re in the right place! If you are switching doctors and want to find someone different with knowledge in this area, you’re also in the right place.
Tips for Finding the Right Healthcare Provider
Consider this helpful tool from the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)
The OAC has an Obesity Care Provider Locator that can help you find the healthcare team you are looking for. You can filter your search by zip code, specialty, accepted insurance, gender, distance and more. The providers that pull up have experience treating patients who are struggling with weight.
Research the provider’s background and specialties
When doing research on a new doctor, try to find out more about them and their treatment approach. Many insurance and practice websites will have a biography listed. You can also call the practice to ask for more information. Look to see what fields they are most passionate about. Some doctors will state that they specifically address obesity and help patients manage their weight with specialized treatment approaches. Doctors that have a preventative treatment approach may also be useful to you.
Know your health background and treatment goals
When seeing a new provider for the first time, have this information handy:
- Current symptoms or concerns
- Medical history
- List of questions
- Relevant forms of I.D.
- List of refills you currently need
- A willingness to be honest and open
Look for obvious signs of weight bias and stigma
During your first appointment, check to see if your provider uses People-First Language. An example of this is saying “You are affected by obesity” vs “You are obese” or “You are fat/heavy and you need to lose weight.”
The provider’s office should also have accommodating office space and equipment. This includes gowns, scales and blood pressure cuffs that are large enough to accommodate someone with a higher weight.
Other factors to look for:
- Are they knowledgeable about different weight management approaches? “Eat less, move more” is not always helpful advice. You may be seeking information about medicine, programs, etc.
- Do you feel comfortable around them? Listened to and supported?
- Is the care they provide comprehensive? Do they look after your physical, mental and emotional health? Do they include biological, behavioral and psychological treatment approaches?
To learn more about finding a healthcare provider who can help you manage your weight, CLICK HERE for information from the OAC.