Just one in seven UK doctors' surgeries provide a good support programme for obese patients, research has revealed.
A survey of primary care nurses, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, has revealed that, while 89 per cent recognise the need for more effective services to tackle obesity, one in five admitted to feeling awkward or embarrassed about talking to patients about their weight.
Dr Ian Brown, lead researcher at Sheffield Hallam University, pointed out that obesity can lead to diseases such as coronary heart disease and diabetes and said that primary care nurses have an important role in providing obesity treatment and support.
"But they clearly need further training and organisational support to provide the help that obese people need to lose weight, in line with new UK health guidelines," Dr Brown continued.
"While outright negatives stereotypes were rare, a number of nurses displayed potentially negative beliefs and attitudes relating to obesity and obese people. However, they were much less likely to do this if they were obese themselves," he added.
This week, a leaked government report has revealed that half of Britain's young boys could be dangerously overweight by 2050, increasing the likelihood that even more people will require obesity treatment in the future.