When it comes to weight loss, Brigham and Women’s Hospital researcher Katherine milkman says there is good evidence that advice from a GP can make a difference.
“In a system where people are trying to lose weight on their own, having a GP who’s engaged in that process and is trying to give advice, can be really helpful,” said milkman, lead author of a new study that appears in the April issue of Obesity.
milkman and her colleagues looked at data from two large U.K.-based studies that tracked the health and GP visits of nearly 6,000 people over a four-year period.
They found that people who had at least one GP visit where weight loss was discussed were more likely to lose weight and keep it off over the four years, compared to those who didn’t have any weight-loss-related GP visits.
The findings held even after the researchers accounted for a range of other factors that could affect weight loss, such as whether people had started out overweight or obese, their age, and whether they had other health conditions.
“This is one of the first studies that really looks at the impact of weight-loss advice from GPs on people’s long-term weight-loss trajectories, and the findings are really encouraging,” milkman said.
The findings suggest that GPs can play an important role in helping people to lose weight and improve their health, milkman said.
“Primary care is often the first point of contact for people with overweight and obesity, and GPs are in a unique position to provide weight-loss advice and support,” she said.
While the findings are encouraging, milkman said more research is needed to understand how best to support people in their weight-loss efforts.
The new study is a step in that direction, she said.
“This is an important first step in understanding the role that GPs can play in helping people to lose weight,” she said. “Going forward, we need to continue to identify effective primary care-based interventions for weight loss, so that we can help more people to achieve a healthy weight.”
According to new research, weight loss advice from general practitioners can help people slim down and maintain their weight.
The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, looked at the effects of a weight management program delivered by GPs.
The program consisted of four face-to-face sessions with a GP, plus telephone and email support.
The participants were asked to lose at least 5% of their body weight within six months.
The researchers found that, at the end of the program, the participants had lost an average of 5.5% of their body weight.
What’s more, they were able to maintain their weight loss for at least a year.
The study’s lead author, Dr. John Manson, said, “This research shows that, with the right support, patients can lose weight and keep it off.”
“GPs are in a unique position to offer this support, as they are often the first point of contact for patients with weight management issues,” he added.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, talk to your GP about getting help from a weight management program.