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Obesity ‘not tackled’ by NHS trusts


20 April 2011

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A report has suggested that just 15% of NHS trusts have implemented plans or policy to get to grips with staff obesity.

The call came from the Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine under the first NHS audit of NICE public health guidance for the workplace.

In 2009, Department of Health figures estimated that around 300,000 of 1.2 million NHS workers were obese, with a further 400,000 overweight.

A report has suggested that just 15% of NHS trusts have implemented plans or policy to get to grips with staff obesity.

The call came from the Royal College of Physicians and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine under the first NHS audit of NICE public health guidance for the workplace.

In 2009, Department of Health figures estimated that around 300,000 of 1.2 million NHS workers were obese, with a further 400,000 overweight.

Despite these figures, the new audit, involving almost 900,000 employees from 282 trusts across England, reveals that little is being done to tackle the problem.

The audit was recommended by the Boorman Review in 2009, which highlighted the importance of making staff health and wellbeing central to the NHS.

According to NICE, employers should work with their staff to help them exercise during their working day. However, just 32% of organisations polled had introduced plans to help staff do this.

Evidence-based weight-management schemes were offered by fewer than one in three trusts, and healthy options were only promoted in 31% of shops.

Dr Sian Williams, Director of the RCP’s Health and Work Development Unit, said: “Patients expect health professionals to practice what they preach and trusts need to implement the best management practices to maintain the health of their staff.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Royal College of Physicians

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