Obesity: prevalence, causes, health risks and treatment

Green, Sue M (1997) Obesity: prevalence, causes, health risks and treatment. British Journal of Nursing, 6(20), pp. 1181-1185. ISSN (print) 0966-0461


This article reviews the latest research on the prevalence, causes, health risks and treatment of obesity. The attitudes and beliefs of nurses about obesity are also examined. Obesity is an increasing health problem. Contributing factors to the development of obesity include a genetic disposition to gain weight, a high fat diet and a lowered energy expenditure. Obesity is a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases and therefore weight loss is usually advisable. Treatment of obesity can take several approaches and requires a change in dietary intake. Changing dietary habits to reduce the health risks associated with obesity should be viewed differently from normal weight individuals dieting to achieve a cultural ideal. Nurses, health visitors and midwives should be knowledgeable about the possible causes, associated health risks and current treatment of obesity in order to provide appropriate care and support within the multidisciplinary team for their patients/clients. They should also be aware of their own personal attitudes and beliefs about obesity as these could affect the care given to patients and clients.

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