Diet advice from overweight GPs ignored by patients

People are less likely to take advice from GPs who are overweight, according to a poll by public health experts.

Obesity: poll shows diet advice from overweight GPs could be ignored
Obesity: poll shows diet advice from overweight GPs could be ignored

Only 9% of 2,100 people who took part would take diet advice from an overweight GP, but 59% would take advice from a GP of a healthy weight, the poll found.

‘It is clear that the public are more inclined to take advice from those of us who are a healthy weight,’ said Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, who commissioned the poll. ‘It appears that healthcare professionals need to be role models in order to help convince the public of the importance of losing weight.’

The survey looked at the views of people from across the UK and found they would be more likely to take diet advice from professionals of a healthy weight, even if they had no medical expertise, such as firefighters and hairdressers.

CMO warning

The findings echo calls from the CMO for GPs to maintain a healthy weight and comments from the NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens’ saying GPs should set an example to patients.

But GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey told GP: ‘The most important thing is that GPs have a long-term relationship with their patients through continuity of care. Patients, over time, will trust their doctors whatever they look like.

‘As long as GPs are providing good care, patients will listen to them and will try to follow their advice,’ said Dr Vautrey.

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