BMI Opens Door to Weighty Discussion

September 1, 2006

To initiate a discussion with a patient about excess weight without causing embarrassment or offense, try reporting the patient's body mass index.

To initiate a discussion with a patient about excess weight without causing embarrassment or offense, try reporting the patient's body mass index (BMI), saying something like the following: "Mr X, did you know that your BMI is 36?" Patients typically answer with something such as "No--what's a BMI?" This creates an easy opening for discussion of the comorbidities associated with excess weight and counseling about lifestyle changes.