New Survey Reveals That Doctors and Overweight Patients Are Not Discussing Weight as a Health Issue

- Healthcare Counselors Available for National Public Health

Week at 1-877-266-TALK to Help Patients Approach Their Doctors

And Assess Risk of Weight-Related Health Problems -



Apr 02, 2001, 01:00 ET from Roche Pharmaceuticals

    NEW YORK, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Even though obesity is second only to
 smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., 57 percent of
 overweight people have never had a discussion about weight with their doctors,
 according to a new Roper Starch survey that examined the level of
 communication about weight between doctors and patients.  In addition, the new
 survey found that 62 percent of overweight people do not believe that their
 weight poses a serious health risk, even though being overweight or obese is a
 significant risk factor for heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, high
 cholesterol, and diabetes.
     "These data show that both patients and physicians need to take a more
 active role in initiating a constructive dialogue about the health risks that
 extra weight carries," said James Rippe, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine
 (Cardiology) at Tufts University School of Medicine and Founder of the Rippe
 Lifestyle Institute and Rippe Health Assessment at Celebration Health.
 "Through conversations with their physicians, people can learn about how to
 decrease their risk of serious weight-related conditions."
 
     Start Talking America!
     In response to the need for more communication with doctors about
 weight, people now can call "Start Talking America!" a hotline available at
 1-877-266-TALK.  Callers nationwide can speak one-on-one with certified
 healthcare counselors, such as registered nurses and dieticians.  Because
 obesity is a national epidemic, the hotline will be available from Monday,
 April 2, through Friday, April 6, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST during National
 Public Health Week, a time when the spotlight shines on health issues that
 affect the country as a whole.  Callers can receive information on:
 
     *     BMI, or body mass index, the most widely accepted measurement of
           whether one is overweight or obese
 
     *     A health risk assessment test on how weight may be affecting your
           health
 
     *     How to initiate a conversation about weight with a physician
 
     "These survey results suggest that people are not speaking to their
 doctors because they underestimate the seriousness of their weight problems,"
 said Dr. Rippe.  "This hotline can help people overcome their reluctance to
 speak about weight, and lead them to pursue a healthier lifestyle by
 controlling their weight."
     In addition to calling the hotline, consumers can log onto
 http://www.weightloss.com to learn more about the risks of being overweight
 and the benefits of getting back to a healthy weight.
     "Start Talking America!" is sponsored by XeniCare(R), a comprehensive
 weight-loss support program featuring personal telephone counseling from a
 registered nurse or dietician specially trained to provide weight-loss
 support.
 
     Survey Findings
     The new survey conducted by Roper Starch asked 488 overweight adults (body
 mass index, or BMI, of 25 or above) about the level of communication with
 their doctors regarding excess weight.  The survey found the following:
 
     *     More than one-fifth (21 percent) of overweight people do not believe
           they need to lose weight, and one-quarter (25 percent) have never
           tried to lose weight.
 
     *     A wide majority (62 percent) does not believe that excess weight
           poses any serious risk to health and well-being.
 
     *     More than half (57 percent) of overweight people, and more than
           one-third (37 percent) of people who qualify as obese (BMI of 30 or
           above), have not discussed weight with their doctors.
 
     *     Three-quarters of currently overweight people (75 percent) have
           tried in the past to lose weight without the help of a doctor.
 
     *     When asked to explain why people are not discussing weight with
           their doctors, it appears that overweight people are underestimating
           the seriousness of weight problems; 49 percent feel they can lose
           weight on their own, 43 percent do not believe excess weight is
           serious enough to speak with a doctor about, and 29 percent say they
           are happy with their weight and don't care to lose any.
 
     *     Half (50 percent) of overweight people have not made any effort at
           all to seek information about diet and weight loss, and almost as
           many (45 percent) people who qualify as obese (BMI of 30 or above)
           have not made such an effort.
 
     *     Patients are just as likely to get diet or weight loss information
           from a friend or family member (48 percent) as they are from a
           doctor (47 percent).  In addition, 40 percent stated they get their
           weight loss information from magazines, and 25 percent cited
           television.
 
     *     More than half (51 percent) believe it would be helpful to have
           access to a personal healthcare counselor by phone.
 
     Obesity in America
     In the 1990s, the prevalence of being overweight and seriously overweight
 (obese) among Americans increased in every state, in both sexes, and across
 all age groups, races, and educational levels.  More than half of American
 women (50.7 percent) and six in ten American men (59.4 percent) are overweight
 or seriously overweight.
     Weighing too much is closely associated with serious, chronic conditions
 that can lead to death and disability.  These include high blood pressure,
 blood cholesterol abnormalities (dyslipidemia), adult onset diabetes (type 2
 diabetes), coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, arthritis of
 the knees and hips, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, and certain types of
 cancer.
 
     A national sample of 1,034 adults ages 18 and older were screened by
 telephone for their height and weight to identify the "overweight" population
 segment.  Using the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 and higher, 488 adults were
 classified as being overweight.  The findings from this survey are based on
 telephone interviews with this national sample of overweight adults.  The
 findings are statistically projectable to this population segment within a
 margin of sampling error of +/- 4 percentage points.  Subgroups will have a
 larger margin of error.  Interviewing was conducted from March 8 to March 12,
 2001.
 
     The study was conducted on behalf of XeniCare(R), a comprehensive
 weight-loss support program featuring personal telephone counseling from a
 registered nurse or dietician specially trained to provide weight-loss support
 
 

SOURCE Roche Pharmaceuticals
    NEW YORK, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Even though obesity is second only to
 smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., 57 percent of
 overweight people have never had a discussion about weight with their doctors,
 according to a new Roper Starch survey that examined the level of
 communication about weight between doctors and patients.  In addition, the new
 survey found that 62 percent of overweight people do not believe that their
 weight poses a serious health risk, even though being overweight or obese is a
 significant risk factor for heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, high
 cholesterol, and diabetes.
     "These data show that both patients and physicians need to take a more
 active role in initiating a constructive dialogue about the health risks that
 extra weight carries," said James Rippe, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine
 (Cardiology) at Tufts University School of Medicine and Founder of the Rippe
 Lifestyle Institute and Rippe Health Assessment at Celebration Health.
 "Through conversations with their physicians, people can learn about how to
 decrease their risk of serious weight-related conditions."
 
     Start Talking America!
     In response to the need for more communication with doctors about
 weight, people now can call "Start Talking America!" a hotline available at
 1-877-266-TALK.  Callers nationwide can speak one-on-one with certified
 healthcare counselors, such as registered nurses and dieticians.  Because
 obesity is a national epidemic, the hotline will be available from Monday,
 April 2, through Friday, April 6, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST during National
 Public Health Week, a time when the spotlight shines on health issues that
 affect the country as a whole.  Callers can receive information on:
 
     *     BMI, or body mass index, the most widely accepted measurement of
           whether one is overweight or obese
 
     *     A health risk assessment test on how weight may be affecting your
           health
 
     *     How to initiate a conversation about weight with a physician
 
     "These survey results suggest that people are not speaking to their
 doctors because they underestimate the seriousness of their weight problems,"
 said Dr. Rippe.  "This hotline can help people overcome their reluctance to
 speak about weight, and lead them to pursue a healthier lifestyle by
 controlling their weight."
     In addition to calling the hotline, consumers can log onto
 http://www.weightloss.com to learn more about the risks of being overweight
 and the benefits of getting back to a healthy weight.
     "Start Talking America!" is sponsored by XeniCare(R), a comprehensive
 weight-loss support program featuring personal telephone counseling from a
 registered nurse or dietician specially trained to provide weight-loss
 support.
 
     Survey Findings
     The new survey conducted by Roper Starch asked 488 overweight adults (body
 mass index, or BMI, of 25 or above) about the level of communication with
 their doctors regarding excess weight.  The survey found the following:
 
     *     More than one-fifth (21 percent) of overweight people do not believe
           they need to lose weight, and one-quarter (25 percent) have never
           tried to lose weight.
 
     *     A wide majority (62 percent) does not believe that excess weight
           poses any serious risk to health and well-being.
 
     *     More than half (57 percent) of overweight people, and more than
           one-third (37 percent) of people who qualify as obese (BMI of 30 or
           above), have not discussed weight with their doctors.
 
     *     Three-quarters of currently overweight people (75 percent) have
           tried in the past to lose weight without the help of a doctor.
 
     *     When asked to explain why people are not discussing weight with
           their doctors, it appears that overweight people are underestimating
           the seriousness of weight problems; 49 percent feel they can lose
           weight on their own, 43 percent do not believe excess weight is
           serious enough to speak with a doctor about, and 29 percent say they
           are happy with their weight and don't care to lose any.
 
     *     Half (50 percent) of overweight people have not made any effort at
           all to seek information about diet and weight loss, and almost as
           many (45 percent) people who qualify as obese (BMI of 30 or above)
           have not made such an effort.
 
     *     Patients are just as likely to get diet or weight loss information
           from a friend or family member (48 percent) as they are from a
           doctor (47 percent).  In addition, 40 percent stated they get their
           weight loss information from magazines, and 25 percent cited
           television.
 
     *     More than half (51 percent) believe it would be helpful to have
           access to a personal healthcare counselor by phone.
 
     Obesity in America
     In the 1990s, the prevalence of being overweight and seriously overweight
 (obese) among Americans increased in every state, in both sexes, and across
 all age groups, races, and educational levels.  More than half of American
 women (50.7 percent) and six in ten American men (59.4 percent) are overweight
 or seriously overweight.
     Weighing too much is closely associated with serious, chronic conditions
 that can lead to death and disability.  These include high blood pressure,
 blood cholesterol abnormalities (dyslipidemia), adult onset diabetes (type 2
 diabetes), coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, arthritis of
 the knees and hips, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, and certain types of
 cancer.
 
     A national sample of 1,034 adults ages 18 and older were screened by
 telephone for their height and weight to identify the "overweight" population
 segment.  Using the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 and higher, 488 adults were
 classified as being overweight.  The findings from this survey are based on
 telephone interviews with this national sample of overweight adults.  The
 findings are statistically projectable to this population segment within a
 margin of sampling error of +/- 4 percentage points.  Subgroups will have a
 larger margin of error.  Interviewing was conducted from March 8 to March 12,
 2001.
 
     The study was conducted on behalf of XeniCare(R), a comprehensive
 weight-loss support program featuring personal telephone counseling from a
 registered nurse or dietician specially trained to provide weight-loss support
 
 SOURCE  Roche Pharmaceuticals

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