Eat less, move more has failed

Where do anti-obesity strategies go now?

For the first time, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) now endorses talking therapy as part of a suite of measures to tackle obesity.

NICE issued new quality standards for obesity services in August 2016. Within them came an endorsement for dedicated obesity centres, staffed by weight loss and dietary specialists, fitness instructors and talking therapists.

Author of the HSJ article, Dr Matt Capehorn, said: “We can make anyone lose weight (lock them in a cupboard and don’t feed them!), but if we don’t address the underlying reasons, they will face precisely the same psychological problems as at the start, and are more likely to put everything straight back on.

“Our relationship with food is complex, and not just physiological. We must overcome psychological hunger – when we eat but are not really hungry.”

It appears that the government has finally started to recognise that the traditional approach of eating less and moving more will not help us to fight obesity.

Talking therapies, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, address the emotional reasons that we eat and are now becoming accepted as a frontline treatment, just as they are already for alcoholism and smoking.

In the words of Dr Capehorn: “NICE has recognised the value of talking therapies – now let’s get the government’s mighty promotional arms behind this, drop the failed approach and turn the tide for good.”

Read how CBT helped Kelly over come her eating issues.