Study findings back providing weight loss clubs on the NHS

A diet high in protein and dairy products could help people lose stomach fatThe provision of a free weight-loss course on the NHS could be the key to combating the continuing problem of obesity, which is costing the government millions each year, according to a major new study published in The Lancet.

A survey by the Medical Research Council’s Human Nutrition Research Unit, based in Cambridge has discovered that obese patients who were referred to a year-long programme, such as Weight Watchers, lost twice as much weight as those who were offered standard care on the NHS. They studied the progress of 722 overweight people who were either given 12 months free membership of Weight Watchers, or offered advice on health and slimming by an NHS primary care team.

After one year, those patients on the Weight Watchers slimming programme had reported an average loss of 11lbs 4oz, whilst those receiving the standard NHS care had lost on average just 4lbs 13oz.

One London based GP, Dr Sarah Jarvis said she was not surprised by the findings, saying, “What we need are sustainable weight programmes and many of these programmes, not just Weight Watchers, will help you to retrain your eating habits in the long term.”

Lead Researcher, Dr Susan Jebb, believes that commercial programmes ‘can offer a clinically useful early intervention for weight management in overweight and obese people that can be delivered at large scale.’

NHS patients are currently offered commercial weight loss schemes, but these usually last for just 12 weeks.

The government say the have no immediate plans to offer long-term weight loss programmes on the NHS, but have said they will look at the research. A spokesperson for the Department of Health said, “We need to understand better how to help people to lose weight so we welcome this research.”

View the original Sky News article here. 

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Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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