Overweight doctors and nurses would be told to slim down to set a good example to patients under plans being considered by the NHS, the Guardian reported. Burger Healthy foodBurgers and chips in hospital canteens would be swapped for healthier options and staff would take part in weight loss competitions, the NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, told the Sun. About 700,000 of the NHS’s 1.3 million staff were either overweight or obese, the newspaper claimed. To help address this, more gyms would be built and NHS sites would be made more cycle-friendly, while prizes such as pedometers would be offered to staff who shed pounds. Stevens said rising obesity rates were bad both for people’s health and for the health service itself, and tackling obesity would put less pressure on the nation’s finances and free up funding for new treatments. Recent figures show that almost three-quarters of people aged 45 to 74 in England are either overweight or obese. Young adults are the only age group who have a normal average body mass index, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre. The NHS is facing a funding crisis and senior health figures have said it may need an extra £30bn by 2020 to maintain the current level of service provision. Stevens told The Sun: “It’s hard for the NHS to talk about how important this is if we don’t get our own act together. I think the NHS has got to take an example in helping our own staff and hopefully other employers will follow suit. “A lot of the food in hospital canteens, not just for patients, but for staff, is chips and burgers. The NHS as an employer, for our own nurses and other staff, could we offer positive incentives? Yes I think we could. And some hospitals have begun doing that.” Stevens also called on parents to swap juices and fizzy drinks during meal times for water or milk. Looking to the future, he said progress in technology would keep patients out of hospital as people lived longer, and he wanted greater partnership between the NHS and social services. “What’s great about the NHS can’t excuse what needs to change about the NHS. That is the approach that we have got to take. We’ve got to support people doing great things, nurses, doctors, the frontline of healthcare. But we’ve also got to raise our game.” Stevens called for thousands more GPs to be trained, and for them to have more power to make decisions about how NHS money is spent.

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