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Another Reason Doctors Don't Tell Their Patients To Lose Weight

As long as I've written about obesity's horrible toll on this nation's health and budgets, I've reminded you about an important contributor to this epidemic: Doctors who fail to advise their patients to lose weight. Expect that "don't ask/don't tell" approach to continue, after an obese woman filed a complaint against a New Hampshire doctor, claiming his stern warning to lose weight was hurtful.

Dr. Terry Bennett's advice was simple and direct: You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that's going to kill you. The woman's complaint was investigated by the New Hampshire Board of Medicine who asked Bennett to take a "medical education" class. After Dr. Bennett refused to take the class and admit he made a mistake, the New Hampshire board referred the woman's complaint to the state attorney general's office.

The range of punishment for the doctor who has practiced medicine for some four decades ranges from a reprimand to losing his medical license in New Hampshire.

Most recently, Dr. Bennett has received support from the unlikeliest of sources: Patients he's treated, some of whom are or who have been obese. In fact, the movement to exonerate Dr. Bennett has been spearheaded by a woman who lost more than 150 pounds under his care and after a similar discussion.

If we don't turn the tide on obesity very soon, our children may live shorter lives than their parents, which has much to do with why I started this Web site in the first place.

WMUR-TV August 22, 2005

Washington Post August 24, 2005

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