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Tackling the obesity crisis: how do we ‘measure up’?
  1. Alan A Jackson,
  2. Martin Wiseman,
  3. Stephen A Wootton
  1. NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, Southampton General Hospital (MP113), Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Alan A Jackson, NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, Southampton General Hospital MP113, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK; aaj{at}soton.ac.uk

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Background

In early 2013, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) published the latest of several reports from various bodies over decades addressing aspects of the rising prevalence of obesity in the UK.1 Their report ‘Measuring Up’ made 10 recommendations targeted at the healthcare professions, at the obesogenic environment and towards making healthy choices the easy choices (box 1). The report made no claim to originality in describing the scale of the problem or in its selection of recommendations, derived from a wide ranging consultative process. It was, however, unusual in declaring the report to be the start of a campaign, and in its wide franchise in representing all the Medical Royal Colleges, and so indirectly virtually all medical practitioners in the UK. It is worth examining the contribution this particular report might make as part of its called-for campaign to solving what has up to now been a seemingly intractable problem.

Box 1

Taken from ‘Measuring Up’

Action by the healthcare professions

  1. Education and training programmes for healthcare professionals: Royal Colleges, Faculties and other professional clinical bodies should promote targeted education and training programmes within the next 2 years for healthcare professionals in both primary and secondary care to ensure ‘making every contact count’ becomes a reality, particularly for those who have most influence on patient behaviour

  2. Weight management services: The departments of health in the four nations should together invest at least £100 m in each of the next three financial years to extend and increase provision of weight management services across the country, to mirror the provision of smoking cessation services. This should include both early intervention programmes and greater provision for severe and complicated obesity, including bariatric surgery. Adjustments could then be made to the Quality and Outcomes Framework, providing incentives for General Practitioners to refer patients to …

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