NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “Discussing Diabetes: The Essential Conversation That Could Change the Health of the Nation”, which examines the idea of technology-enabled between-visit engagement to help patients with the prevention and management of diabetes. Download it HERE!
For communication to really deliver results, it helps to understand the gaps between the perceptions of doctors and patients. Discussing Diabetes shows that when it comes to diabetes — and health issues related to weight in general — there are three broad areas where medical professionals and the general public are not yet on the same page. Bridging these gaps is the necessary starting place for preventing and treating diabetes in the United States.
Disconnect #2: Calories vs. Genetics
The main causes of obesity — and related poor health — show another disconnect between doctors and patients. Medical professionals are far less likely to blame genetics, and they are far more likely to share the blame equally between poor diet and inadequate exercise. In contrast, both diabetic patients and the general population are far more likely to focus on lack of exercise over diet. And, although still a minority, non-medics are also more likely to blame genetics compared to medical professionals.
This gap may explain why doctors are more concerned about the amount of processed food being consumed in the country, the size of portions served in restaurants and fast-food outlets, and the amount of soda being consumed.
Discussing Diabetes also looks at what happens when people attempt to lose those extra pounds. Again doctors are more likely to ascribe their patients’ inability to lose weight to the basic ‘calories in versus calories out’ formula. So, whereas three in five (65 percent) diabetic patients who have attempted to lose weight in the past blame their sedentary habits and lack of exercise for failing to reach their goals, four in five (81 percent) doctors believe it was lack of exercise.
Nearly half (44 percent) of diabetic patients believe that it was a lack of healthy foods in their diet that thwarted their attempts to lose weight. But more than half of doctors (55 percent) pointed the finger at their patients’ diet.