Weight loss medications are generally prescribed for people with a BMI of above 30. What is Dr. Terence Tan’s take on that? In this video he shares his sentiments and expert opinion.
When should we resort to taking medications for weight loss?
This is where my concept differs from some other doctors. I feel that short term weight loss medications can help for most people, even if experts tell us recommendations for medications is only for people with a Body Mass Index of about 30. But why? Aren’t these experts bright people?
Firstly, in Singapore, we hardly see many people with a BMI of above 30. I’m sure most of us who don’t see patients for a living cannot imagine how a BMI of 30 looks like but trust me, it just really is not that common in Singapore. Secondly, who are these experts anyway? What do they know about being overweight?
I remember when I was a kid, I always thought that adults knew everything. They knew every single reason for every single phenomenon, and they always knew what to do in any scenario. Somehow I feel that’s what most people think about doctors too. They believe that we doctors always know what is right. Well, I’ve got some news for those of you who believe that. We don’t know what to do more often than you think.
Significant studies are done by expert doctors to prove pre-conceived theories and often we come to wrong conclusions. I remember once I read a study that concluded that people who wear leather shoes are likely to get heart attacks. Imagine that. I’m actually wearing leather shoes right now. But what someone should have told the researcher or that expert doctor is that people who wear leather shoes are more likely to be rich. They eat richer food, they are more likely to be overweight, and have an unhealthy lifestyle. And therefore, it is really not beyond our understanding to think that these people would have a higher risk of a heart attack. So, therefore, big studies are designed to compare the risk of taking medications to the complications of being overweight such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart attacks. Whatever you have. But do they measure the risk of societal acceptance?
Do researchers measure how weight affects one’s ability to find a job? One’s weight as compared to his ability to find a girlfriend or for her to find a boyfriend, to impress his or her boss? No, I don’t think so. These studies have no means to measure such intangible things like that. And therefore, maybe if that’s the case, are we still so sure that we should not help more people lose weight with medications?