NHS must step up to obesity challenge

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NHS must step up to obesity challenge back to list

02 January 2013

The healthcare system in Britain must adapt to the demands of an increasingly obese nation, concludes a new report from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

Whilst health promotion campaigns and other preventative measures attempt to stem the tide of obesity, the NHS must better manage the large numbers of patients presenting with severe complex obesity.

The rate of obesity in the UK is amongst the highest in the world, exceeded only by the USA. Approximately 25% of UK adults are obese and it is estimated that the majority of Britain's population will be obese by 2050. The cost of dealing with the adverse consequences of obesity is estimated to be £5 billion per year.

The RCP working party found that despite the strain put on the NHS by obesity, the delivery of healthcare to patients with an established obesity problem is ‘extremely patchy'.

In many patients, their obesity leads to other complications such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, sleep disorders and gynaecological disorders. Despite this, the report authors found that there are few ‘joined up' services for people who are overweight.

Professor Nick Finer, co-author of the report and obesity specialist at the UCLH centre for weight loss, metabolic and endocrine surgery, said, "We need to see improved leadership on obesity at every level; from the appointment of a lead physician in every trust, to the creation of a cross- governmental role."

Click here to read the full press release from the Royal College of Physicians.

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