Why weight should be the fifth vital sign we check

Patricia Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


The disturbing fact that more than 1.9 billion adults across the world are overweight was revealed in the Global Burden of Disease Study in 2013. The study classes more than 600 million of these people as obese, representing 13% of the worldwide adult population. Obesity and lack of exercise affect all body systems, so there is a high probability that obese patients presenting at emergency care facilities will have acute complications, including biliary disease, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease and pulmonary embolism. Some argue that obesity has become a big problem because people take too little responsibility for their diet and physical fitness. This has economic implications for the health service. In the UK, we have reached unprecedented levels of obesity, so it may be timely to debate the health promotion and education role of emergency department nurses and community based emergency nurses. As members of a professional discipline, emergency nurses need clear advice about how to guide patients to eat healthily, exercise and manage their weight
Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Pages (from-to)5-5
Number of pages1
JournalEmergency Nurse
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2017


  • weight
  • obesity
  • exercise
  • emergency nurse
  • health education


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