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Action on obesity: Comprehensive care for all

Obesity is an increasing and costly public health problem which is not being addressed by current services or policy. This report confronts the issues, and sets out how the NHS should adapt to meet the demands of an increasingly obese nation.

It emphasises the need for increased numbers of multidisciplinary teams across the UK, to provide a comprehensive service rather than the current patchy one. With clear guidelines on how to set up such a team, its component staff, and how to run it, the report is addressed to all health professionals who work with obese patients.

Many obese patients develop problems in other areas, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and sleep disorders, and therefore patients may be seen by a range of different specialists, as well as GPs. This underlines the need for improved training for all healthcare professionals, no matter what their specialty, from undergraduate level upwards.

The cost of dealing with the health problems caused by obesity is estimated at £5 billion a year, and around 25% of UK adults are obese. So the report advocates strong leadership at every level, with lead physicians for obesity in every trust, and a new government role to coordinate the work of all the government departments that could have an impact on obesity.