STOP Obesity Alliance Releases New Educational Tools to Improve the Patient-Provider Relationship Surrounding Weight and Health

June 26, 2015

Why Weight bg

The Why Weight? A Guide to Discussing Obesity & Health With Your Patients series of information is available at

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance released a series of educational videos and website for health care providers as part of STOP’s continued efforts to improve communication with patients affected by obesity. The information is based on STOP’s Why Weight? A Guide to Discussing Obesity & Health With Your Patients, a unique tool designed to help providers build a safe and trusting environment with patients to facilitate open, productive conversations about weight.

Among the new materials is an educational dramatization on what health care providers should not do (“what not to do”) as a healthcare provider when addressing a patient’s weight, featuring STOP’s medical director, Scott Kahan, MD, MPH. Additionally, the new website provides a way to quickly access specific points of interest for a health care provider and provides additional resources not featured in the original “Why Weight?” guide.

“It is our goal to cultivate productive conversations between healthcare providers and their patients – and also to help providers understand why some common styles of communication may cause harm and get in the way of meaningful behavioral change,” said Kahan. “These new materials will continue to help providers better understand how to address obesity.”

The materials provide guidance and suggestions on how to initiate conversations with adult patients who have struggled to lose weight.

“As a patient with obesity, I’ve often experienced blame and shame in doctors’ offices because of my weight,” said Patty Nece, a patient advocate who has been involved with STOP’s efforts and whose first-hand experiences have helped inform the materials. “Those conversations aren’t helpful.  They just make you feel bad.  That’s why I’ve been delighted to work with STOP’s efforts to inform doctors about productive ways to discuss and treat weight.”

This series is part of a larger effort STOP is making to improve the patient experience and educate health care providers. The coalition is also awaiting results of a survey in the field that is geared at better understanding physician attitudes and practices in obesity counseling. STOP has also been working on a pilot project for a new decision aid tool that can help primary care providers more easily assess how to address obesity.

“It’s been an exciting year at STOP as we make progress in our work to change the way others think about obesity,” said STOP Obesity Alliance Director William H. Dietz, MD, PhD. “We hope that our efforts will measurably improve the provider-patient relationship and lead to improved patient outcomes.”