Health professionals should do more to tackle obesity

All health professionals should be given training in identifying people at risk from increasing body weight and become better skilled at managing obesity, the Royal College of Physicians has said.

A report by the college has argued that the dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity in the UK in the past 20 years has not been matched by a similar expansion of education and training in how to care for such patients.

Too often health professionals ignored the obvious signs or symptoms of obesity or just advised the person to lose weight, it added.

There was limited information provided in both under- and post-graduate training on this issue, and very little focus on weight management within specialist medical training.

Professor Peter Kopelman, chair of the working party report, said: “Regardless of the particular discipline of the health professional, or the setting in which he or she works, the message that needs to be heard is that ‘managing overweight and obesity is everybody’s business’.”

In a separate piece of research, employers have been urged to do more to support older workers after it revealed that nearly one-third sometimes struggle to catch their breath at work, negatively affecting their performance.

Of 6,732 51- to 60-year-olds surveyed by the British Thoracic Society, 29% said they experienced breathlessness, with the majority admitting that this had adverse consequences for their work.

This often resulted in extended sickness absence and meant that workers were more likely to retire due to ill health, the study found.

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