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Posted on 24th February 2017

Doctors avoid telling patients to lose weight

A survey by the GP magazine, Pulse, found that overweight patients take offence at being told to lose weight by their GP.

In a poll of 1,141 doctors, 32 per cent said overweight patients had not reacted well to their advice, despite the warnings of obesity.

There are 67 per cent of men and 57 per cent of women who are recognised as clinically obese in the population.

Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer, has warned that fat has becomes the “new normal”. She said in 2014: “I am increasingly concerned that society may be normalising overweight.”

The NHS recommends that GPs offer obese patients free places on weight-loss courses, but the survey suggests they may be avoiding the subject all together.

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, argued that the survey was positive. He said that two thirds of GPs had not upset patients and added: “The 32 per cent who are offending patients are perhaps not going about the conversations in the right way. 

Defining obesity

NHS choices says the best way to measure if you are a healthy weight is using a body max index calculations. You can use their calculator here.

For most adults, a BMI of:

  • 18.5 to 24.9 means you're a healthy weight 
  • 25 to 29.9 means you're overweight 
  • 30 to 39.9 means you're obese 
  • 40 or above means you're severely obese

Risks of obesity

According to WebMD you are more likely to suffer from heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancers, gout and breathing problems if you are obese.

NHS Choices says: “It's very important to take steps to tackle obesity because, as well as causing obvious physical changes, it can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as:

Obesity can also affect your quality of life and lead to psychological problems, such as depression and low self-esteem (see below for more information about the health problems associated with obesity).”

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