The big news for GPs this week - and anyone who believes that steps need to be taken to curb the UK obesity epidemic - is the proposal that GPs are paid for measuring BMI.
In order to better track obesity levels - and, of course, help curb obesity, it has been proposed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) that family doctors should receive a financial incentive for recording the BMI of patients aged 18 and over.
Currently, 67% men and 57% of women in the UK are classed as obese - and BMI (body mass index) is seen as the most reliable measurement of a person’s excess body fat.
"Targeting people who are overweight reflects a pro-active approach to preventing and reducing obesity and its associated complications," says the NICE consultation document.
This week’s news also comes after the results of a report published by Pharmacy Magazine in December 2014 claimed GPs underestimate BMI.
So why is BMI so important?
There is no doubt that the increase in obesity throughout the country has caused a strain on our NHS. It is estimated to cost a massive £30 billion a year to accommodate illnesses associated with obesity.
A high BMI rating - 30 and above is classed as obese - increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes. More information about BMI can be found on our recent BMI infographic poster, issued as a free download last month.
The National Obesity Observatory says: “Although BMI is not a ‘gold standard’ measure of overweight or obesity, its advantages in terms of ease of measurement, established cut offs and existing published statistics make it the only currently viable option for producing high level summary figures at population level.”
BMI can be calculated by taking a patient’s weight and height; the quickest and most accurate way of calculating BMI however is by using a dedicated BMI weighing scale.
There are a number of solutions, for measuring BMI quickly and accurately, within the Marsden range. All are Class III Approved, so legal for medical use, and digital - meaning greater reliability. They make an ideal investment for providing a BMI reading of each patient visiting your surgery.
These solutions include the M-545 low cost floor scale, which has a high weight capacity and can provide a BMI and BSA reading for every patient. It’s portable, robust, and has a separate indicator for weight sensitive areas. It’s a popular replacement for mechanical scales in consulting rooms.
The Marsden M-100 and Marsden M-110 are available with height measures, making it even easier and quicker to measure BMI. Both have high capacities and both can be purchased with a printer - meaning a permanent record of a patient’s weight, height and BMI can be produced.