Four out of five obese people suffer from at least one chronic illness but a quarter of them are not willing to lose weight, according to a study. Of those who would not accept doctors' advice to lose weight, a third said it was for financial reasons, a quarter did not agree that they were fat, and another quarter were worried about the safety of using medication to lose weight. 'Doctors usually suggest patients lose weight by doing exercise and maintaining a healthy diet, which is not expensive,' said Dr Chan Wing-bun of the Hong Kong Association for the Study of Obesity, which conducted the survey. He added that some patients might need to consult dietitians and some seriously obese people may need medical treatment, but financial problems might just be an excuse for some. In the study released yesterday, 200 adults considered obese under World Health Organisation standards were interviewed through 20 general practitioners in August. Of all respondents, 48 per cent had high blood pressure, 48 per cent had high blood cholesterol and 30 per cent had diabetes. About 44 per cent of diabetes cases are cased by obesity and the risk of coronary heart disease or a stroke in obese people is increased by two to three times, according to the WHO. 'Being overweight is the cause of many diseases,' the association's president, Dr Francis Chow Chun-chung, said. Chow, head of the endocrinology and diabetes division at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, said the focus on obesity should be on health risks rather than appearance. But the survey found that the main reason for obese interviewees to lose weight was to improve their looks. Two-thirds of women who worked on losing weight said it was to improve their appearance while only a third of men gave this as a reason. 'Success in losing weight is not in how much you've lost, but in maintaining a healthy way of living,' Chan said.