As Obesity Levels Continue to Rise, GPs Encouraged to Identify Patients at Risk of Diabetes

A report by the National Obesity Forum has highlighted that more than half of the British population are likely to be obese by the year 2050. Obesity rates are rising quickly among both adults and children, and people are gaining more weight in their senior years. While the report acknowledged that there has been a small reduction in the number of children who are overweight or obese leaving primary school, it emphasises the fact that more needs to be done to tackle the problem of obesity in Britain. Obesity increases the risk of a number of health problems, including diabetes, and efforts to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes have also been called for.

Obesity on the rise and Gp's looking more for diabetes
Obesity on the rise and Gp’s looking more for diabetes

Tackling rising levels of obesity


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The report advises that campaigns around the issue of obesity need to be harder hitting, more like those aimed at smokers. Family doctors are also advised to use each consultation with a patient who is overweight as an opportunity to discuss weight management. At a Government level, the topic of hydration choices needs to be addressed, as the calories from carbonated soft drinks and alcohol make a significant contribution to weight gain. A greater focus is additionally needed to help those people who are obese at present, as many initiatives are targeted at the prevention of obesity. Encouraging children and young people to be physically active outside of school and college was also recommended.

Prevention and early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes

A report published by NHS England has advised that a united effort is needed by GPs to prevent diabetes and allow its identification during the early stages of the disease; all too often chances to prevent type 2 diabetes are missed and patients may have the condition for years prior to diagnosis. The plan, entitled Action for Diabetes, lays out a vision for the care of those with diabetes, as well as those at risk of this chronic health problem. During 2014 a framework will be published to assist commissioners in developing action plans to manage diabetes in the community setting. The Improving Quality division of the NHS will also provide tools to aid decision making to enable early diagnosis of diabetes. The drive for better prevention strategies and diagnosis of diabetes will be reflected in GP contracts and incentives will be offered, as they are now with other conditions, to aid identification of these patients.