Conversations around weight – advice for GP locums

3rd October 2022 by Sinead Lay, Case Manager, and Dr Rachel Birch, Medicolegal Consultant at Medical Protection

Conversations around weight – advice for GP locums

Over the past few years, the term epidemic has been re-catapulted from the history books into modern day society and one could argue it is almost exclusively associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many other epidemics are still prevalent in society and worryingly on a projectile trajectory. According to the World Health Organisation¹, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.

In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight and of these over 650 million were obese. Some 39 million children under the age of five were overweight or obese in 2020 and over 340 million children and adolescents aged five to 19 were overweight or obese in 2016. It may be alarming to know that most of the world’s population live in countries where being overweight and obesity kills more people than being underweight or malnourished.

At the forefront of the obesity epidemic is obesity bias and stigma – an under-recognised and widely prevalent barrier to optimal care of an obese patient, which can even be present among GPs.

What is weight bias?

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