Doctors should make patients go on diets

Monday, May 14, 2018 - 12:00

The Times 

From Weight Watchers on prescription to licences for selling snacks

Prof Jebb, an adviser on obesity to Public Health England, insists that doctors must do more to tackle obesity, which can contribute to diabetes, failing health and strokes. GPs should, she insists, prescribe weight loss programmes, just as they give patients blood pressure pills.

Doctors should proactively offer vouchers for Weight Watchers or Slimming World to overweight patients who come to them about something else, she says. “We have finished a trial where we trained doctors to supportively raise the issue and offer help . . . 44 per cent of people said yes and they did lose weight, even a year later. It was extremely successful.” Only four of the 1,800 patients who were approached as part of the programme thought it was inappropriate for the doctor to raise the issue of their weight. “Most people who are overweight know they are, you aren’t giving them new news.”

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