A new Government report has said that all patients should be weighed by GPs “by default”.
The ‘Childhood Obesity: A Plan to Action’ report raises concerns that nearly a third of children aged between two and fifteen years are overweight, and goes on to outline a strategy to reduce England’s rate of childhood obesity within the next ten years.
The report insists that GPs should weigh patients whenever they see them, and patients should be referred to local weight management services, clubs and websites should they need extra help.
Are you a GP? Do you agree or disagree with the strategy – once you’ve read the article, let us know in the comments section below.
Recommendations of the Report
The report recommends that health professionals should ‘build on the good work they already do’, by ‘always’ bringing up the family diet when talking to patients - according to GP online.
Health Education England (HEE) and Public Health England (PHE) have also launched advice for healthcare professionals when raising the issue with patients.
The PHE will also challenge the food and drinks industry to reduce sugar content of their products by 20% by 2020.
However some aspects of the report have been criticised
The British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have said that the Government has failed to introduce strict enough measures against food and drink companies.
The report failed to mention any sanctions or incentives to ensure that companies meet the targets set out in the report - a move that has been criticised by the BMA.
Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard welcomed ‘the aspirations of the report’, but added it could have gone further.
“It’s disappointing that some of the more radical initiatives expected, such as a ban on pre-watershed junk food advertising, that could potentially help to curb rising levels of childhood obesity, don’t feature in the report – but the measures that do are a positive step forward,” she said.
That said, weighing every patient that visits their GP is of fundamental importance if their weight is to be monitored and recorded accurately - and obesity rates are to be reduced. Weighing should be the first and most regular way of monitoring a patient’s health, and will help us see the biggest changes in childhood obesity over the next two years.
Regular weight readings means GPs can react more easily to changes in weight and keep it within a healthy range.
Weighing patients more frequently, means that GPs can better judge the health of the patient, the effectiveness of medicines and enable better calculations of the remedies needed.
To help GPs with the more frequent weighing of patients which has been encouraged in the report, Marsden has a wide range of medical scales that are ideal for use in GP surgeries.
The Marsden M-550 is Class III Approved and has five times the accuracy of traditional mechanical scales.
Marsden has also produced several helpful resources to reduce obesity amongst patients.
Our new ‘Am I Overweight?’ poster can be placed on the wall of any GP surgery and can raise awareness about when a patient is overweight and the consequences being overweight could cause.
For Marsden’s full range of medical scales, click here.
Whether you’re a GP or patient wanting to know more about weight loss and the solutions available to you, get in touch with our customer service team on 01709 364296 or contact us here.