Intended for healthcare professionals


Getting serious about obesity

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 11 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1300
  1. David Stuckler, university lecturer in sociology1,
  2. Sanjay Basu, assistant professor of medicine2
  1. 1Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2School of Medicine, Stanford University Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
  1. ds450{at}

Reports from UK medical bodies are a start, but doctors can’t do it alone

Obesity continues to be one of the biggest health threats to the UK population. We therefore welcome the fact that two of the United Kingdom’s most important medical organisations—the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges—have launched major reports this year setting out concrete steps for responding to this crisis.

According to the BMA’s consensus statement on the role of the doctor,1 doctors have to act in “the best interests of their patients and of the population served.” In helping serve the best interests of patients, the RCP report takes several important steps to help bring UK clinical practices in line with those in the United States, which also has an obesity crisis.2 These include developing bariatric medicine as a clinical subspecialty, along with better education for general practitioners, a patient charter, introducing a cross governmental obesity chief, and research into better pharmaceutical and surgical interventions to treat obesity as a medical condition.

Yet such actions can play only a small part in tackling the UK’s obesity crisis. Thirty years ago the RCP …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription