Doctor makes bets with patients to encourage weight loss

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - America's growing obesity problem is putting more people at risk for a medical condition known as fatty liver . It's a disease Dr. Richard Gilroy is seeing more often in his patients at the University of Kansas Hospital.

Find out if you're at risk for fatty liver .

"The most common cause of liver disease is obesity.  It's not hepatitis C, it's not alcohol, it's obesity," Dr. Gilroy said.  "Society has moved to such a point that I'm guaranteed a job in an era when I can cure a hepatitis C in virtually anyone, the problem I have is I can't cure obesity because I need a lifestyle change."

To encourage his patients to try to change their unhealthy lifestyles, Dr. Gilroy makes bets with them.  He says it's worked most of the time.

"I've made the bets, oh maybe about ten times and about seven of them have worked. The hard part is you need a follow up bet if you want to maintain the effect," he said.

The bets involve whatever his patients are interested in.  Dr. Gilroy bet Arthur Morton a fishing rod to encourage him to lose weight so he could get back to fishing.

"I had to stop for a good little while," Morton said, whose health started failing because of his obesity – even after kidney and liver transplants.

Morton has dropped 30 pounds so far in the four months since his bet with Dr. Gilroy.

"He didn't have to do that," Morton said. "He's a special doctor.  He's serious about what he believes in."

Since losing weight, Morton has gone back to fishing with his new fishing rod from Dr. Gilroy.  Besides eating less and eating healthier, Morton is also drinking more water and walking 30 minutes each day.

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