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Wednesday
Nov142012

Scottish Doctors to Address Obesity with Patients

An article on Scotsman.com says, “Overweight and unfit patients who visit their general practitioners will be urged to take more exercise under an intervention scheme designed to tackle Scotland’s obesity crisis.” The pilot program will begin in January, according to the article, and will take place at twenty National Health Institute clinics throughout Scotland. 

Patients who are overweight, suffer from diabetes, heart disease or depression are likely to be targeted first. They will receive recommendations to make healthy lifestyle changes, including eating a nutritious diet and exercising more. A typical scenario would see a doctor or nurse asking a patient who was coming in for a routine appointment how much exercise they did over the past week, says the article.

It appears Scotland is frustrated with the lack of results it has seen over the past several years in combating obesity. “There has been no improvement in the number of Scots meeting exercise targets in recent years, which is why the Scottish Government’s public health agency, NHS Scotland, has chosen to tackle patients directly,” the article states.

The Scotsman.com spoke with Professor Nanette Mutrie, chair of physical activity for health at Edinburgh University. She said, “physical inactivity has now been listed as a pandemic health issue. Recent research shows that the risks of lack of activity are worse than smoking, obesity and diabetes put together. Previously, we were not aware of this. People should be getting advice about physical activity and this pilot is simply trying to make that happen. Patients are already asked about smoking and weight when they visit their [doctor]. This will put physical activity on the same level.”

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