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Margaret McCartney: Fat doctors are patients too

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 10 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6464
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}

The new Belgian health minister, Maggie De Block, is a former GP. She also reportedly weighs 20 stone (127 kg), prompting critics to claim that she is unsuitable to manage a portfolio that includes reducing obesity.

Recently, England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, said that she was “perpetually surprised” at how many NHS staff were overweight. “How are they to have the impact on patients if they are not thinking about it for themselves?” she asked.1 Meanwhile, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has told staff to join gyms and weight loss clubs, to “fight against obesity.”2

The message for doctors is clear: don’t be fat. But obesity is complicated. …

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