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Tackling obesity by offering the opportunity to attend a weight loss programme during a routine consultation is effective, welcomed by patients and takes 30 seconds of physicians' time, according to a new randomised trial of more than 1,800 people published in The Lancet.

Overweight woman preparing healthy food © World Obesity Federation

The findings should provide reassurance to doctors who rarely talk to patients about their weight for fear of causing offence, lack of time or belief that they are ineffective. The authors say the low-cost intervention should be considered as the first point of call for GPs in treating obesity.

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