File image: Pexels Patients should be handed tape measures and told to keep track of their waistlines

Overweight patients should be handed tape measures and told to keep track of their waistlines, a top GP has said.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said empowering patients to do their own checks while at the doctor’s surgery would encourage them to take more action over their health.

The chairman of the Royal College of GPs said: ‘By getting patients to do this themselves, it is encouraging them to be more interested in their health – in self-caring.

‘Where weight is concerned –we know that obesity is a huge issue – this proactive approach brings it to the front of their consciousness; it isn’t just a passive thing that they have no control over.’

Around 60 percent of adults in Britain are either overweight or obese and levels are among the worst in Europe.

Andrew Hardie, deputy chairman of Birmingham city council’s health scrutiny committee, said handing responsibility back to patients showed a far deeper understanding of ‘the psychology of weight loss’.