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More than 1,300 Slimming World members have had their say on the government’s recently launched obesity strategy. Here, Amy Williams, from Slimming World’s PR team, examines the results of our poll.

A raft of measures was revealed as part of the government’s new obesity strategy, in a bid to get the nation fit and healthy, improve resilience against Covid-19 and protect the NHS. The campaign follows growing research which shows that being overweight or living with obesity puts you at increased risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19.

To find out if slimmers think the government got it right, we asked our members for their thoughts – and 1,300 of them responded.

The findings show that slimmers overwhelmingly support the government’s new obesity strategy (90%) and also reveal:

  • 95% of slimmers agree that access to slimming clubs via referral from GPs should be available in every community;
  • 94% believe they and their family are healthier since they joined Slimming World.

It’s great to see that our members welcome the government’s commitment to expanding weight-management services, so that more people get the support they need to lose weight. Currently, access varies across the UK, highlighting a postcode lottery.

We pioneered referral and partnership with the health service nearly 20 years ago, and the scheme gives GPs, nurses and other health professionals the opportunity to offer free membership of a local Slimming World group to those patients who they feel would benefit.

Independent research shows it is a cost-effective and successful system – with Slimming World leading to greater weight loss in 12 months than any other weight loss organisation.*

Slimming World member Jason was told he might not live to see another Christmas after being diagnosed with sleep apnoea and type 2 diabetes. Jason was given a 12-week referral to Slimming World by his GP and lost over 14st. He’s now medication-free.

As well as helping people to improve their health, a key focus for the government is supporting families to make healthy lifestyle changes. Our members felt slimming clubs, like Slimming World, were successful in this respect, and that they were able to pass on healthy habits to their loved ones.

Lisa and Graeme Wharton lost a combined 10st 4lbs with Slimming World and now they’re sharing their active lifestyles with their children. Lisa says: “As Graeme and I got bigger, we secretly worried about the example we were setting for Jack and Alice. Once we started making healthier choices with Slimming World, they were inspired to make similar changes to their lives, too.”

MORE ON THE BLOG: How Kal Flynn reset her health and lost over 5st!

Slimming World’s Director of External Affairs, Jenny Caven said: “The package of policy measures to tackle obesity announced by the government is a positive step forward. Our members, who have real-life experience of the challenges and achievements of weight loss, know better than anyone that to lose weight successfully, people need support.

“In fact, 89% of those members we polled said having the support of a group of like-minded people was the most important factor in them adopting healthy habits and making long-term changes to lose weight.

“As the Prime Minister has acknowledged, losing weight can be tough, and changing the habits of a lifetime takes real and sustained effort. In order to achieve their goal of helping people to urgently make changes to their lifestyles, any solution from the government must address the psychological as well as physiological aspects of losing weight.

“Providing people with expert, effective, empathetic care and understanding, along with a sound evidence-based behaviour-change programme to help them eat more healthily and become more active – and to do both in ways they can sustain for the long term – is the only way to create lasting change.

“Slimming World already works with the government via Public Health England, as partners in the new Better Health campaign, and with the NHS through our Slimming World on Referral service. Our study of 1.1 million members shows that, on average, Slimming World members lose a clinically significant 5% of their body weight (9.9lbs) within three months. 

“Anyone whose weight is affecting their health – and that’s nearly two-thirds of adults in the UK – needs to urgently find support to make changes to their lifestyle. Slimming World has the behaviour-change expertise and is ready and able to support members and their families in every community, through our local weekly groups and our online programme.”

When you join your local Slimming World group or our online community, you’ll receive the very best support to help you achieve your weight loss dreams. You’ll also get access to our member website and app, where you’ll find more than 1,400 recipes, as well as plenty of inspiration and motivation to make healthy changes and enjoy a more active lifestyle. You can find out more about joining Slimming World here.

* Research published in the British Journal of General Practice 2014 shows that at 12 months, Slimming World leads to a greater weight loss than other weight loss programmes. In 2015, an independent economic evaluation by the University of Leeds found that, compared to usual care, Slimming World on Referral is cost-effective against the standards set by NICE at 12 months and over a lifetime.

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