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Call for health professionals to tackle UK obesity crisis


The head of the NHS Information Centre has called on health professionals to find ways of cutting obesity levels.

The plea comes after a report from the body which revealed a gulf between how much exercise UK adults say they undertake and how much they actually do.

The report found that only one in 10 people who think they get enough exercise actually hit the Government’s recommended target of 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week or more.

Some 16,000 households were surveyed in the report which also revealed a gulf between the sexes, with men staying active outside of work for 13.9 days a month, compared with 12.2 days for women. Men were more likely to spend time gardening, walking and taking part in sports, whereas women were more likely to undertake heavy housework.

The NHS Information Centre’s chief executive, Tim Straughan, said: “What’s clear is that there is a stark mismatch between how much adults say they are doing and what they are doing in reality.

“This is a worrying finding and health professionals need to find ways of addressing this to reduce the levels of obesity and weight-related ill health.”


Readers' comments (6)

  • There are 3 issues here which need addressed:
    1. Before we can help others we must start with ourselves because the "do as I say, not as I do" message is ineffective.
    2. We forget how influential we can be, and frequently don't make use of opportunities as they arise.
    3. Many nurses (and other disciplines) lack appropriate skills in motivating and supporting people to change behaviour.

    So - what can be done? How about:

    1. A 'healthy health professional' campaign - funded by the government and implemented and supported by employers (OK - I know this would be costly, but can we afford not to?)
    2. increase of the importance of health promotion in our interactions, not just with patients, but with family, friends, colleagues etc. Articles in, and a campaign by the Nursing press could help here.
    3. In pre-registration programmes increase input on health and lifestyle assessment skills and motivational interviewing techniques.

    Health professionals are part of society and as such obesity is widespread among us. Many nurses (probably a majority) are overweight, yet not many doctors are - why is this?

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  • No matter what we as nurses say, some folk are just not interested in losing weight. Even with the best will in the world my hearts sinks when I see fat child + fat parent after fat child + fat parent (with virus). I also think that many of the young women must have a `magic mirror' to check their clothes before going out - they obviously don't see what the world sees! We can advise,motivate and support - but the individual has to add a little themselves. And that's the missing link...

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  • as if I wasn't already trying, but to be honest often people do not hear what I am saying about their weight untilthey decide to do something about it themselves, same as smoking, drinking, drug taking, safe sex etc. etc.

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  • When we stop spoon feeding the public, expecting the NHS to sort out our problems rather than enabling people to take responsibility for their own lives, and to pay for the consequences otherwise, we may start to tackle all our problems, not just the obesity problem.

    Currently the NHS costs of treating binge drinking young people, or treating the victims of crime, or the bill to put people together after motoring, ski-ing, mountain climbing, sailing accidents all costs the taxpayer.

    If people were to be more responsible in their choice of lifestyles, we would all be healthier, and running the NHS would be less costly as well.

    Unfortunately, both the medical & nursing profession relies on people who have no autonomy, relies on institutionalising people, to ensure an everlasting queue for treatment, and we have no end in sight of the costs of this care.

    Perhaps if we had more caring parents, we would have less people left in old people's homes, and our social care budget too could be cut down.

    For all of this to happen, we need a change of culture, where we take responsibility for ourselves, and our health, and where professionals take second place, there to care for those who are unable to do so because of disability, or diseases we have no control over.

    And more than anything, if we put less pressure on ourselves, the rates of cancer would be reduced.

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  • Our health is our most important asset. For many people, being overweight is associated with being uncomfortable in their own skin. To assist with weight control, every time the urge to snack is felt, first drink a large glass of clear water. This simple act will help you to eat less. Water will soon become one of your best friends. The major reason so many people in America are overweight is because we eat too much for comfort! It does not hurt to treat ourselves with something special once in a while, what is necessary is that we limit our portions and do not overeat! It is also necessary to keep our body properly hydrated, so drink a full glass of water with each meal or snack. Being overweight ******, but after reading a book, I lost 85 pounds! Words can not express how good I feel! This is a comment which I recently received about the book Lose Weight Using Four Easy Steps

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  • Input must not exceed output.Simple as that

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