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Diabetes patients failing to follow weight control advice

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Controlling weight is the most challenging aspect of type-2 diabetes management, a survey of nurses, doctors and diabetes patients has found.

Nurses need to capitalise on their contact time with obese diabetes patients, and prompt them to take action over their diet and exercise during routine appointments, the research found.

The survey canvassed 300 doctors and nurses, and 1,001 obese people with diabetes. Only six out of 10 patients said that they follow the advice given to them by healthcare professionals regarding exercise and diet. This compares to just 35 per cent following advice from family members, and the 25 per cent who listen to friends.3

Despite this, 83 per cent of patients admitted they are still not happy with their weight, and the same proportion worry about how it will affect their future health. The lack of success is reinforced by nurses and doctors, who estimate only a quarter of patients successfully control their weight.

'People with type-2 diabetes often experience a progressive deterioration in their condition, which can lead to intensification of treatment and, with some diabetes treatments, an increased risk of weight gain,' said Surrey diabetes specialist nurse Gwen Hall

'We need to support patients with type-2 diabetes with weight and overall disease management to prevent some of the complications associated with the disease.'

Professor David Haslam, GP and chair of the National Obesity Forum, added: 'It's vital that GPs and nurses continue to provide their valuable support and look deeper to tackle the reasons why patients are struggling to shed the pounds. One key way of doing this is to have clear and meaningful conversations with patients. It's not about the length of these discussions but the depth and quality of them," he added.'

The survey was commissioned by the Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca Alliance. Type-2 diabetes currently affects around 2.6 million people in the UK.

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