MDVIP Survey Reveals Key Insight About Weight Loss
Just about all of us have embarked on a weight loss journey at some point in our lives. In fact, more than 80 percent of Americans currently report being over their ideal weight in a new MDVIP survey. The good news is that many people recognize the need to better manage their weight and are taking steps in the right direction.
The MDVIP survey, which included a Fat IQ quiz, also revealed a troubling truth: Most Americans don’t know or understand basic facts about diet and nutrition, even though 85 percent of those surveyed believe they have the knowledge to eat right. In fact, a majority of respondents scored a failing grade on the Fat IQ quiz.
A couple of examples of the dietary knowledge gap:
- 85 percent of Americans either underestimate or don’t know how many calories they generally need to burn to lose a pound of weight. (The answer is 3,500.)
- Only 1 in 5 Americans correctly believe that all fats, regardless of the type, have the same number of calories per gram.
Given that excess weight is linked to an increased risk of numerous and sometimes preventable health problems, including arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and several types of cancer, there is a clear need to improve Americans’ knowledge of diet and exercise.
However, obesity is a complex health problem with numerous possible causes, not just poor food choices and/or a sedentary lifestyle. For example, my medical specialty, endocrinology, addresses problems with metabolism. Stress, insomnia, medications and a family history of obesity are other common factors in obesity. This is why one-size-fits-all diets often don’t work long-term.
On the other hand, your primary care doctor can be a crucial partner in helping you develop and stick to a weight loss strategy based on your needs, your body and your life. These are a few of many reasons to work with your primary care provider on improving your weight, and therefore your health.
1. Your doctor knows your medical issues. Thyroid problems and polycystic ovary syndrome can cause weight gain. Some medications are more strongly associated with weight gain than others. Aching joints are a barrier to exercise. In each of these cases, a medical intervention can help you lose weight before you even have to make a single change to your diet.
2. Your primary care doctor knows your family health history. If you have a family history of hypertensive heart disease, and your own blood pressure is starting to creep up, your doctor may recommend a specific, low-sodium diet. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, your doctor may suggest that you avoid processed meats. In both examples, you’re getting advice to lower your disease risk, but in doing so, you may also shed pounds.
3. You can tell your doctor things you won’t tell others. Alcohol or tobacco use, binge eating, night eating and emotional health issues can all play important roles in weight. But you may not be comfortable bringing them up with a diet buddy, personal trainer or dietician. When you see your primary care doctor, it’s a judgment-free zone. You can be honest about these sorts of behaviors and get the help you really need.
4. You can get actionable help. When you try to diet on your own, you may be successful for a while, but life invariably presents obstacles that can test your will. That’s when your doctor’s support can be especially helpful. Whether you’re living with caregiver stress, a hectic travel schedule, or have no time to cook, your primary care physician can help you find solutions that keep you on track to achieve your weight and health goals.
Want to find out your Fat IQ? You can take the Fat IQ quiz here.