Assessing the Potential for Bias Among Overweight Physicians

Articles about the increase in obesity worldwide and its associated health implications are not hard to find. The topic is frequently explored in an array of sources—from highly regarded medical journals to magazines at the supermarket checkout.

Berry et al have taken an interesting look at the topic of obesity. They wanted to determine if physicians who are overweight or obese were less likely to document obesity in their patients’ charts—and presumably, less likely to address weight loss with their patients. As a control condition, the researchers selected hypertension.

In a retrospective medical records review, the researchers examined the documentation of obesity and hypertension by 10 internal medicine and 12 family practice practitioners during a 1-year period. They found that nonobese physicians were more likely to document obesity, and documentation of obesity lagged significantly in comparison to hypertension.

For more information about the study and detailed results, click to “Physician Body Mass Index and Bias Toward Obesity Documentation Patterns”  in the spring 2018 issue of Ochsner Journal.