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Spring and summer best for promoting weight loss, GPs advised

The study

Belfast researchers looked at data on the number of anti-obesity medications prescribed in Northern Ireland over an eight year period. The centralised collection of GP prescriptions covered a population of approximately 1.75 million people.

The findings

Significant seasonal variation in the number of antiobesity medication prescriptions was found. There was a difference of 8% between the peak of prescribing and the trough, with the peak occurring in late June and early July. The seasonal variation was different depending on gender, with women demonstrating a difference of 11% between the peak and the trough, compared to 3.5% in men.

What does it mean for GPs?

The authors concluded that the presence of prescribing cycles for antiobesity medication suggests that ‘patients consulting in the spring and early summer could offer numerous teachable moments’ with regard to weight loss

Journal of Epidemiology and Clinical Health 2013, online 30 January