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Lice theory an empty shell

The obesity lobby has begun to gather the evidence it wants as it pushes GP-led weight management. New trial results suggest a general practice programme of advice and treatment can encourage up to 40 per cent of patients to lose weight. The National Obesity Forum says it is 'banging on the Department of Health's door' with the findings, as it presses for weigh-ins and advice to become quality targets.

But while GPs involved in the study have welcomed the results, they have words of caution too. The intensive programme of lifestyle advice, exercise prescribing and drug treatment was heavy in workload for GPs and practice nurses. Larger practices might cope, but smaller ones could struggle.

The political agenda is clear but GPs will want more evidence before accepting quality indicators for obesity. And any such indicators would have to carry enough points to reflect the massive workload involved.

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