MPs State that GPs should Focus on Physical Activity not Obesity

Being Healthy & Fit Isn't...Clinicians should promote physical activity regularly to their patients rather than focus on dealing with their obesity, MPs have said.

In a report from the Health Committee (Impact of Physical Activity & Diet on Health (Health Committee, 2015-03-25)), MPs said that far greater emphasis was needed on physical activity independent of issues such as obesity, as evidence showed that increasing physical activity levels could have a greater effect on reducing mortality than on reducing weight.

The MPs added that the next Government should prioritise:

  • Prevention;
  • Health promotion; and
  • Early intervention.

The report suggests that prioritising these would aid in tackling the health inequalities and harms that arise from poor diet and physical inactivity.

MPs said that while diet, obesity and physical activity all affected health, activity had for too long been seen only in terms of its benefits in tackling obesity.

The report states (p.3): “A core message from this inquiry is the compelling evidence that physical activity in its own right has huge benefits totally independent of a person’s weight. The importance of this – regardless of weight, age, gender or other factors – needs to be clearly communicated.”

MPs recommended that the UK Government, Public Health England, and health professionals – particularly GPs – should take urgent action to communicate this message to the public. Evidence during the inquiry had shown that more needed to be done in clinical encounters to promote physical activity, as activity was sometimes given lesser importance by doctors than diet or obesity.

The report also recommended that primary care take the lead, as it has done for smoking cessation, in promoting physical activity and preventing obesity.


One thought on “MPs State that GPs should Focus on Physical Activity not Obesity

  1. The government love to make doctors responsible for every societal ill. If only it were as easy as us telling patients “exercise and eat well”. It’s not that people don’t know that. I spend a fortune on fruit and veg for my family, we ate £10 worth of berries yesterday plus all the other fruit and veg. Or I could have bought a frozen cheesecake from Iceland for 99p. The problem isn’t that people are idiots and eat crap because they don’t know any better. Next they’ll try and change the GP contract so that you get paid more for every patient you have with a BMI of less than 30. That would be an interesting incentive!

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