Practice nurses should scrutinise weight management courses

Referral to intervention programmes highlighted in NICE consultation on obesity strategies

Practice nurses should look at the success of weight management programmes in their regions before referring patients to them, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said.

NICE has released a draft quality standard on strategies to prevent obesity in adults and for weight management interventions, and is seeking the views of nurses and other professionals in a consultation running until September 15.

It says that professionals such as practice nurses should ensure they provide information about local lifestyle weight management programmes to adults identified as overweight or obese. They should also refer to and promote programmes 'that include agreeing a plan to prevent weight gain on completion'.

NICE also suggests professionals such as practice nurses should put local weight management programmes under the microscope, by examining data on attendance, outcomes and the views of participants and staff, before referring patients.

Independent nurse consultant Jane DeVille Almond, chair of the British Obesity Society, was an adviser on the draft quality standard, along with Gloucester Clinical Commissioning Group governing body nurse Julie Clatworthy.

The consultation states: ‘Being overweight or obese can lead to chronic and severe medical conditions. The National Obesity Observatory report, Obesity and Life Expectancy, estimated life expectancy is reduced by an average of two to four years for people with a BMI of 30-35, and eight to ten years for those with a BMI of 40-50.’

The NICE guidance ties in with the government’s Five-Year Forward View, which has a focus on reducing the burden of avoidable illness.

For details on the consultation and how to take part click here.

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