The government is urging family doctors and front line health care professionals to help tackle Britain’s growing obesity problem by urging patients to lose weight.
New guidance published by the Department of Health will assist GPs in identifying people who are overweight or obese and provide advice on how to raise the issue of weight loss sensitively with patients.
Information is also being provided for patients giving them diet and exercise tips to help them lose weight and improve their health.
One in four adults in England is now classed as obese, while the number of severely overweight children has doubled over the last decade.
The government hopes to halt the year on year increase in obesity amongst children under 11 by 2010.
Announcing the launch of the new guidance on tackling obesity, public health minister Caroline Flint said that while many people recognised the need to enjoy a balanced diet and exercise more in order to improve their wellbeing, they often needed "a nudge in the right direction."
"GPs and other health professionals have a key role to play in this process," said Ms Flint.
The minister added that the new guidance was designed to empower people to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and the health of their children.
Obesity is major cause of various health problems and can lead to type two diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes and cancer.