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Study: Generic Weight Loss Advice Does Not Help Patients Shed Pounds

New research from Duke University notes generic weight loss advice from doctors to their patients has little to no effect. If you recently started taking Phentermine pills for fast weight loss, take a minute to learn about this study and why customized, specific advice is always best for shedding excess pounds. The research appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Generic Vs. Specific

Participants who received generic weight loss advice from doctors such as “Exercise more” had moderate weight loss compared to those who received specific instructions. The study took over a year and worked with 134 overweight patients, most of whom were female and had an average age of 51. Some patients had additional health issues such as diabetes or hypertension.

"Just telling somebody to lose weight or improve their diet or physical activity didn't work," said study co-author Gary Bennett, a professor of psychology at Duke. "The doctor should instead encourage patient participation in a specific program."

The Empathy Factor

Patients provided with customized, empathetic weight loss advice including those in text message form lost an average of seven more pounds over those who received generic tips. Empathy made a serious difference because patients felt cared for by their doctors.

"Patients who enroll in a weight-loss program should consider asking their health care providers to check in on their progress," said study co-author Megan McVay, an assistant professor at University of Florida. "This can help keep them accountable. It is also important to have a provider that they feel cares about them and has sympathy towards how hard it is to lose weight."

Remember, weight loss is personal! Find what works for you and stick with it rather than following generic tips.
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