Doctors telling patients they're obese isn't rude, it's vital, says Oxford professor

'Doctors prompting patients to tackle their weight can be the push they need', says University of Oxford

GPs are being urged to talk to their patients about their weight

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Doctors prompting discussion about a patient's weight can be a trigger for them to act on the issue and isn't inappropriate at all, according to a professor of behavioural medicine.

Research led by the University of Oxford found that 137 medics mention their patient's weight during 1,900 routine consultations.

The study also suggested that doctors should not fear raising a patient's obesity - in fact it's vital.

Professor Paul Aveyard, lead author on the study, told Sam Delaney, "At some point you need to recognise there's an issue there and doctors prompting [to talk about that] can be what makes the difference.

“When you say to someone you’re overweight, immediately people feel defensive about that. What I do is I tell them about the options that are available for them to lose weight.

“I think training is important, but I think what holds GPs back is not just the lack of training, but also a fear of offending their patients, and what we saw in this study was actually nearly everyone thought it was both appropriate and helpful for the GP to have done this."

Listen to the full interview to find out more