...information for health professionals

Family Affair: a tailored  programme for adolescents

Slimming World offers free membership to 11 to 15 year olds as long as they attend group along with their parent/guardian or family member who has main responsibility for their meals/eating habits at home. We have developed specific guidelines to support our young members:Free2go

  • All young member's are provided with age specific literature:
    • ‘Free2Go’ which is an eating plan and activity booklet. This plan has been specifically tailored for our young member's ensuring they have a flexible, balanced diet and plenty of encouragement to become more active.
    • ‘Free2Go – a guide for you and your parent/guardian’ which is for use between the group Consultant, the young member and the young member's parent or guardian. This booklet outlines Slimming World's approach, details what we are asking for from the parent/guardian in terms of support and regular monitoring and asks the parent/guardian to give consent for the young member to attend Slimming World.
  • Once consent has been received, the member's group Consultant will inform the member's GP of their attendance at a Slimming World group by letter and provide further details about Slimming World and Free2Go.
  • As growing a little can affect young member's age-adjusted-BMI dramatically, we ask the parent/guardian to check the young member's height every 3 months. Young member's weight changes are monitored closely and their BMI centile is plotted every 3 months in the ‘Free2Go – a guide for you and your parent/guardian’ booklet
  • All young member's are recommended to follow the Free2Go programme which has been specifically tailored to ensure they enjoy an overall balanced diet, and incorporates physical activity guidelines for this age group.
  • As growing in height can render a target weight inappropriate or unachievable young member's do not set a Personal Achievement Target like adult members. Instead of setting weight loss targets, Consultants help young member's set behaviour change targets, steering them towards healthy food swaps, eating plenty of Free Food, cutting down on unhealthier foods and introducing more activity in their lifestyle.

Slimming World groups have the expertise and experience to help in behaviour change. They are also another brick in the wall of social support that is necessary to tackle obesity in the UK.

Andy Hill, Professor of Medical Psychology, Leeds University School of Medicine