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    Two-thirds of Korean doctors prescribe diet drugs to patients that request them

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Saturday, February 19, 2005 11:23 am Email this article
    A little more than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of Korean doctors who answered a survey prescribe diet pills to patients who request them regardless of their obesity status according to a new survey. Nearly half of doctors prescribed diet pills before allowing diet and exercise time to work

    About half of the doctors (47.3 percent) prescribed diet pills without allowing allowing enough time to first see if diet and exercise would work.

    Diet pills just became available in Korea in 2001

    “Following the availability of anti-obesity medications in Korea in 2001, interest in obesity management increased both among patients and physicians,” the paper notes.

    Comment: I interpret this to mean that no prescription diet pills were available in Korea prior to 2001.

    Less interest in obesity prior to availability of diet pills

    “Before anti-obesity medications came to market, primary care physicians in Korea were less concerned about the management of obese patients, even those who were severely obese or who had obesity-related health problems,” the authors noted.

    Diet pills cost $83-125 per month

    Diet drugs are not covered by insurance in Korea, and cost patients the equivalent of $83 to $125 U.S. per month.

    Half of doctors measured BMI, one-fifth measure waist

    Half the doctors (50 percent) measured body mass index (BMI), and one-fifth (20.4 percent) measured waist circumference, while fewer than half the doctors measured blood sugar or cholesterol levels in their obese patients.

    Most of the doctors surveyed said that they saw more than 50 patient per day, indicating there were severe constraints on their time.

    60% of doctors recommended diet and exercise

    About 60 percent of doctors recommended diet and exercise to their overweight patients.

    Doctor’s attitudes toward diet pills

    “Approximately one-third regarded anti-obesity medications as effective, whereas 8 percent thought these agents caused too many side effects and 60 percent regarded these agents as too expensive,” the authors note.

    Asian guidelines define obesity as a BMI of 25 or more

    The percentage of people who are overweight or obese in Korea as defined in the U.S., that is having a BMI of 25 or more, has increased from 20.5 percent in 1995 to 26.3 percent in 1998.

    2.3% of Koreans have BMI of 30 or more

    The percentage of people who are obese by U.S. standards, that is having a BMI of 30 of more, is only 2.3 percent.

    Asian guidelines define obesity as BMI of 25 or more

    The Asia-Pacific guidelines define obesity as a BMI greater than or equal to 25 compared to U.S. guidelines which define overweight as a BMI of 25-29.9 and obesity as a BMI of 30 or more.

    Abdominal obesity as waist measurment: 35 inches for a man, 31 inches for a woman

    The same guidelines define abdominal obesity for a man as a waist circumference as greater than 35 inches, and greater than 31 inches for a woman.

    Subjects: 452 doctors

    A questionnaire was sent in 2002 to 939 doctors, of which, 452 (48 percent) responded.


    Park H, Park J, Cho H. Attitudes and reported practice for obesity management in korea after introduction of anti-obesity agents. J Korean Med Sci. 2005 Feb, 20(1):1-6.


    Hye Soon Park, M.D.
    Department of Family Medicine
    Asan Medical Center
    University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 388-1
    Poongnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Korea
    Tel : +82.2-3010-3813
    Fax : +82.2-3010-3815
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) tions

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