Medical Reading

Frontline Health Staff Join Fight Against Flab, UK

April 27, 2017

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint announced the publication today of new practical tools for GPs and other health professionals to help patients lose weight and improve their health.

For the first time, GPs and other healthcare workers are being given specific tools to help identify and treat children, young people and adults who are overweight or obese. The Care pathway for the management of overweight and obesity is part of the Your Weight, Your Health series providing information to primary care practitioners on how they can tackle the subject of obesity and being overweight with patients. The series includes a self help booklet for patients, also published today, which gives patients information on what they can do to lose weight through better diet and exercise.

Caroline Flint said:

"Reducing obesity is a government priority and we have put in place a programme of action to support people in improving their health and losing weight. Obesity has a major impact on people's health and can lead to Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer.

"Most people know they should eat more fruit and vegetables, and exercise more but sometimes people need a nudge in the right direction to get them on the road to improving their health. GPs and other health professionals have a key role to play in this process. They have the early opportunity to broach issues of overweight and obesity with their patients, and, if their patients have children, they can influence how parents deal with overweight children. Parents have a huge influence on their children and health professionals have the chance to influence their patients.

"But this isn't about telling people what to do. It's about supporting them in making changes to their lifestyles that will improve their health and the health of their children. The booklets and information we have published today will give GPs the tools they need to approach the issue with patients and will give patients the information they need to take the first step towards better health."

Also launched today is the joint Health, Education and Skills, and Culture, Media and Sport departmental Obesity Bulletin, a new publication targeting obesity leads in primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, local authorities, regional government offices and other government departments with the latest developments and good practice in the Government's obesity programme.

Last week, the Prime Minister launched the Small Change BIG DIFFERENCE initiative which shows people how they can improve their future health and wellbeing by making small, easily achievable changes to their lifestyles, for example, getting off the bus a stop earlier or eating an extra piece of fruit or serving of vegetables a day. The initiative is based on research which shows that even these small changes can start improving health and turn back the clock.

1. The Obesity Care Pathway and Weight Loss Guide for patients are part of the wider programme of action set out in the Choosing Health white paper (published in 2004) to reduce obesity and improve health in the population as a whole. The Government has a public service agreement to halt the year on year increase in obesity amongst children under 11 by 2010.

2. Other actions include:

-- clear nutritional labelling on packaged food to help people make healthier choices
-- working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce the salt, fat and sugar content of packaged foods
-- restricting advertising and promotion of less healthy food to children
-- investment of 225m to improve school food
-- 1.5b investment in the School Sports Strategy to increase physical activity

3. Copies of the guidance are available on the DH website at:dh/obesity