GPs to take obesity battle to patients

In collaboration with the Press Association

GPs in England are to receive new guidelines from the Department of Health on advising people who are overweight or obese, recommending that they play an active role in encouraging them to lose weight.

They will receive information on how to identify obesity and those at risk, and how to sensitively encourage them to reduce their weight through exercise and diet.

Obesity is the second most important preventable cause of cancer in the UK after smoking.

A quarter of all adults are now classed as obese and the number of severely overweight children has doubled in the past decade.

"We welcome the government's initiative to help GPs broach the sensitive subject of weight to their patients," said professor John Toy of Cancer Research UK.

"More than half of all cases of cancer could be prevented by changes to lifestyle.

"Maintaining a healthy weight by taking regular exercise and eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables is one of the key messages of Cancer Research UK's Reduce the risk campaign," he added.

The government has set itself a target of halting the increase of obesity among children by 2011.

Alongside cancer, obesity has been linked to diabetes, coronary diseases and strokes.

 Find out more about the links between obesity and cancer

Read the guidelines on the DoH website