Patients can order ‘don’t weigh me’ cards to take to doctors

Getting on scale ‘causes feelings of stress and shame for many’, group behind initiative says

Zoe Tidman
Thursday 23 December 2021 10:24
<p>Patients can order cards to ask their doctor not to weigh them</p>

Patients can order cards to ask their doctor not to weigh them

Patients are able to order “don’t weigh me” cards to take to the doctors in a move aimed at reducing anxiety and stress on a visit.

The US group behind the initiative said being weighed and talking about weight “causes feelings of stress and shame for many people”.

The cards say: “Please don’t weigh me unless it is (really) medically necessary.”

It adds: “If you really need my weight, please tell me why so that I can give you my informed consent”.

On the other side, it explains why the patient may not want to be weighed, including “when you focus on my weight I get stressed” and “weighing me every time I come in for an appointment and talking about my weight like it’s a problem perpetuates weight stigma”.

It also says most health conditions can be addressed without knowing the patient’s weight.

The group that created the cards,, describes its mission as empowering “parents to raise kids who are free from body hate, disordered eating, and eating disorder”.

While the cards were initially available for free except for posting costs, the organisation said it had to start charging a fee to cover printing costs “due to the unexpected demand for these cards”. It posts both within the US and internationally.

One woman in the US tweeted that her doctor’s surgery had put the cards out for patients to take if they wanted.

Public Health England guidance to health and care professionals says they are in a “unique position to talk to patients about weight management to prevent ill-health” and recommends brief interventions.

It says the first step in a brief intervention over a patient’s weight is to weigh and measure them. “You should view this as a normal part of a routine consultation,” it says.

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