Have GPs Given Up On Obesity? NHS Adviser Reveals Most Doctors ‘ignore’ Patients’ Weight Issues


Britain is failing in the war on obesity, a top NHS adviser warned, as the majority of doctors ‘ignore’ patients’ weight problems.

Many GPs weigh patients every year and do nothing more, says Professor Paul Aveyard, who advises NHS England on obesity.

If a GP were to allow a sick person to leave their operating room without medication or treatment, that doctor could be sued.

But, says Professor Aveyard, GPs routinely fail to ask obese people for help, and this condemns thousands later to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart attack or stroke.

Britain fails in war on obesity, top NHS adviser has warned as majority of doctors 'ignore' patients' weight problems

Britain fails in war on obesity, top NHS adviser has warned as majority of doctors ‘ignore’ patients’ weight problems

The obesity prevention expert and GP, who also advised the Department of Health and Social Care, has written a highly critical article in the British Journal of General Practice about the ‘neglect’ by doctors of one in four of us who are obese.

It states, “When a preventive interaction occurs, clinicians typically advise people to change behavior rather than provide support to achieve it.”

Doctors often fail to intervene, the professor says, even when they see overweight patients for diseases such as type 2 diabetes, which are largely caused by weight.

The expert, a professor of behavioral medicine at the University of Oxford, told the Daily Mail: ‘When it comes to high blood pressure, doctors automatically prescribe pills, but when it comes to obesity, most ignore it.

“We see this in all kinds of doctors, including cardiologists, because it’s not their practice to intervene on overweight people – it doesn’t float their boat because it’s not an exciting, prestigious treatment.”

Obesity prevention expert and GP professor Aveyard, who has also advised the Department of Health and Social Care, has written a highly critical article in the British Journal of General Practice about the ‘neglect’ by doctors of one in four of us who is obese

He added: “There is good evidence that people are putting on meal replacement diets, which means portion control can help many lose weight and reduce their risk of serious disease.”

Last year, more money became available for doctors who refer obese people to weight-loss classes.

Professor Martin Marshall, president of the Royal College of GPs, said GPs were “highly trained” to conduct sensitive conversations, but standard ten-minute appointments were not long enough to meet patients’ needs.

He also advocated a ‘recruitment and retention strategy’ to increase the number of GPs and a society-wide approach to the root causes of obesity, including the cost of living crisis.

dr. Richard Van Mellaerts, of the British Medical Association, said the few specialist services to which obese patients can be referred are often full.

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