Surveys Say 8 in 10 People Lie to Their Doctors About Health Habits
Why would a sane person do this?
According to a look into a pair of surveys, people can't stop lying -- to their doctors. Two surveys of nearly 5,000 men and women in two different age groups revealed that 81% of them have no trouble fudging the facts about their health to the people responsible for helping them maintain it.
Andrea Gurmankin Levy, an associate professor in social sciences at Middlesex Community College in Connecticut notes in a release, "If patients are withholding information about what they’re eating, or whether they are taking their medication, it can have significant implications for their health. Especially if they have a chronic illness."
Not surprising, diet and exercise were the most common topic of lying; younger females who considered themselves in poor overall health most commonly withheld medically-relevant information.
The fibbing habit was more common with younger patients -- 81% of younger and middle-aged adults in one survey copped to not being honest, while in the other, 61% of Baby Boomers do.
For the most part, the patients admitted to lying to avoid being judged or lectured to by their physicians. "Most people want their doctor to think highly of them," says senior author Dr. Angela Fagerlin, chair of population health sciences at the University of Utah. "They’re worried about being pigeonholed as someone who doesn’t make good decisions."
However, the surveys also revealed that while patients embellish the truth about their own health habits, they remain, mum, when it comes to disagreeing with their doctor's recommendations -- and that happens a lot.
Some 46% of those patients in the younger demographic say they've received advice from their doctor which they haven't agreed, compared to 31% in the older demographic.
Fagerlin explains doctors need to monitor how they're being perceived to make sure their patients are shooting them straight.