GPs are ‘failing to recognise obesity’

Obese generic
Obese generic Creatas Images

A NATIONAL study released this week shows many patients and GPs fail to recognise overweight and obesity, with many Australians incorrectly classified as a normal weight.

The research, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, found one-in-four overweight or obese patients did not see themselves that way.

One-in-five overweight or obese patients were not considered overweight or obese by their GP and both patients and GPs failed to recognise overweight or obesity in one-in-six cases of unhealthy weight.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said an improvement in the recognition of overweight and obesity was essential for both patients and health professionals.

"The study found the increasing prevalence and normalisation of overweight and obesity may be a contributing factor to under-recognition," Ms Clift said.

"It's important for GPs to be aware that their perception of a patient's weight, and the patient's perception, could cause overweight or obesity to be overlooked, with potentially serious health consequences.

"Australia's obesity crisis is burgeoning - Queensland has the highest rate of obesity nationally, and about a quarter of our children are overweight or obese.

"Being overweight or obese increases the risk of a range of chronic diseases, including some cancers.

"Routine measurement of height, weight and waist circumference could improve recognition of overweight and obesity by both GPs and patients."

Two-in-three Queensland adults and one-in-four children are currently considered to be overweight or obese.

Topics:  doctors obesity

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