Overweight patients should be put on a diet by their GPs – regardless of the reason for their visit to the doctor, researchers have said, after a study found average weight loss of 10lbs for those enrolled in slimming classes.
I found it really interesting that the research by Oxford University tracked almost 1,900 overweight and obese patients who went to see their family doctors for a consultation which was unrelated to their weight. Half were advised to sign up for weight-loss classes, run by the likes of Slimming World. The rest were given advice that losing weight would help their health. How would you feel if you went to the GP about another issue and they asked to weigh you and talk about losing weight?
Research shows many GPs had previously avoided raising the issue of weight, for lack of time or fear of causing offence, researchers said. “Doctors can be concerned about offending their patients by discussing their weight, but evidence from this trial shows that they should be much less worried,” said lead author professor Paul Aveyard, a practising GP.
I can’t imagine this every time – on the rare occasion I have visited the GP they are extremely quick and dismissive – every one else seems to be there for ages but once it’s me – I’m out in five minutes! For many I have spoken to this indeed may be seem as invasive and not necessary but for others they would appreciate to hear such if it was relevant and appropriate. I guess we talking about GPs having a common-sense approach.
This borders, of course, on that bigger issue of denying treatment if you are overweight. In addition, there is the issue that many weight problems are much deeper and need more complex treatment & support. Are GPs avoiding the conversation because of time, resources or simply additional workload related to referrals etc? It seems to me that the most effective way (cheaper way) may be more information in GPs surgeries and health centres – how many have rubbish poster areas, lack of leaflets and no local information files do you see?
Would it be more useful to have an info desk in every surgery – not for medical advice – but for info on what is available locally – like eating disorder support groups, slimming clubs, counselling organisations etc? With someone (team trained volunteers?) who know just the right leaflet or a contact number or have a selection of fact sheets. Take Coastal West Sussex MIND www.coastalwestsussexmind.org who has the most amazing information booklets do you see them out there?
If you feel you have an eating problem why not go along to our drop-in Eating Disorder Support Group – 2nd and 4th Wednesdays 6-8pm. See www.mysistershouse.info for details.
Provided by My Sisters’ House CIC Arun & Chichester Women’s Centre