For most patients, a doctor’s visit includes getting weighed and recording their body mass index (BMI). For those with a contentious relationship with stepping on the scale, this can be a triggering part of their appointment. David P. Selzer, MD, clinical instructor of medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, speaks to Well and Good about the potential benefits of skipping the scale at your next checkup.
Weight stigma exists within healthcare settings, and using the single metric of BMI can impact the quality of care patients receive. Additionally, patients with anxiety related to their weight or body dysmorphia are less likely to seek out care—they might think that the treatment they are receiving is unhelpful.
“Given the anxiety that patients often go through when being weighed, having a full metabolic panel is often an acceptable substitute,” says Dr. Selzer. “Rather than focusing on one data point, our top priority is to ensure that each patient is comfortable during their appointment.”
There are occasions when you may need to be weighed. Dosing for anesthesia and many medications, including birth control and some emergency contraception, have weight thresholds and do not work well in some patients. But unless you have had a significant fluctuation or are near the threshold for your medications’ effectiveness, you don’t need to be weighed at every visit. Speak with your doctor about whether your medication dose may be affected by weight.
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