Overweight NHS nurses must lose weight to set example, says DoH

Overweight NHS staff are being urged to lose weight and set a good example for their patients.

The Department of Health’s ‘Healthy weight, healthy lives: one year on’ report has called on the NHS to practice what it preaches, and help staff to lose weight so they can motivate the general public to do the same.

The report specifically targets nurses, midwives and health visitors, saying these roles require staff to discuss nutritional advice, and NHS employees should set an example through their own behaviour and lifestyles. Currently 700,000 NHS staff members are thought to be overweight and obese.

The report said: “The credibility of health messages is supported by the behaviour of health professionals.

“We therefore need to prioritise how to best improve the health and well-being of NHS staff, with an initial focus on nurses, midwives and health visitors.”

Programmes will be developed over the next year to help NHS staff achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

The report found that of the 1.2 million staff in the NHS, 300,000 would be classified obese and a further 400,000 as overweight.

The report added: “The NHS, schools and local authorities all have an important role to play, not only in the services they provide for the public but also in looking after their employees’ health and well-being.”

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