A new research study of 1500 people living with obesity and 306 healthcare professionals explores perceptions, attitudes, behaviours - and potential barriers - to effective obesity care in the UK.
The figure below highlights key barriers in the obesity treatment pathway. The article, which is available open access via the BMJ, shows a huge treatment gap. There is a substantial delay in treatment for people living with obesity due to the interaction of complex factors outlined below.
There are opportunities to address this disparity within health care settings by addressing the inaccurate narrative around obesity and misperceptions of people with obesity which has created a culture of individual responsibility, blame and shame.
EASO President Jason Halford said
“People living with obesity in the UK wait nine years before discussing their weight with their HCP (3 years longer than the international average), and HCPs erroneously tend to view PwO as uninterested or not motivated to lose weight. These findings suggest a failure to recognise the consequences of obesity as a chronic disease and the need for substantial expansion of training in obesity management practices, including appropriate approaches to discussing sensitive issues around weight with patients.”
Ken Clare, Obesity UK director for Bariatric Services and Chairman of ECPO, the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity said
“This important new research clearly highlights the need for more time for UK HCPs to see patients, improvement in access to the full range of obesity care services, and a substantial change in the narrative around obesity in the UK, including among health care professionals.”