- Only 3.1% were referred by medical professionals to weight loss programs
- Men are 31% less likely than women to be referred to weight loss programs.
- Middle-class and rural patients are also less likely to be referred
According to one study, only 3 percent of overweight and obese people are referred to weight loss programs.
Men are 31 percent less likely than women to be sent to weight loss classes or programs that address their diet and fitness.
Patients from middle class backgrounds are less likely to be referred than those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
They are less likely to send people from rural areas for help.
Researchers looked at around 1.8 million people registered as overweight or obese in England between 2007 and 2020.
Only 3.1 percent were referred by their healthcare professional to a weight loss plan (File image)
They found that only 3.1 percent were referred by their GP or other health professional to a weight loss program.
Dr Karen Coulman, who led the study, said some health professionals did not increase patients’ weight for fear of “stigmatising” them. She added: “We need better training so that doctors and other healthcare professionals feel more confident in having these conversations.”
The research, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, looked at community programs such as weight loss classes and dietitian referrals.
He said men may be less likely than women to be referred because they are reluctant to talk about their weight.
And those who live in rural areas could be excluded due to a lack of weight control groups.
The study found that the least disadvantaged are 16 per cent less likely to be referred than the most disadvantaged, possibly because their doctors see them less.
He said doctors should not rely too much on online diet and exercise programs, which may not work for older people who prefer face-to-face help.