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GPs should do more to help obese

25th July 2011

A specialist has called for GP practices to have an "obesity army" in order to help people lose weight and prevent serious health issues from developing.

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Professor Tony Leeds said this would reduce the amount of people who required treatment in hospital.

The health service pays out £4.2 billion annually on treating obesity and a quarter of adults in the UK are obese.

According to a 2007 report, by 2050 60% of men, half of women and a quarter of children will be obese if nothing is done to prevent it.

Professor Leeds, who runs obesity clinics at London's Whittington and Central Middlesex hospitals, said in the BBC's Scrubbing Up column: "I have patients who are several stones overweight and blighted by diabetes, and there are those who are up to 60 stone (381kg), awaiting surgery."

"Yet if real help was more available in primary care fewer would reach me and my colleagues in specialist hospital centres in the first place." 

He said people who did not have much weight to lose (between 10-15lbs) were asked to try normal diets and those with five stone or more to lose were offered surgery.

However he explained that the people "in the middle" lost out and it was important to train GPs in how to treat people with weight issues.

He added that other primary care workers should also be given training and suitable diet plans could be provided to patients.

Dr Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of GPs, has previously stated that GPs would be in favour of a "structured approach to obesity care", but that it would have to be "properly funded and resourced".

 

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