...information for health professionals

Government Obesity Strategy

July saw the release of the Government’s much anticipated obesity strategy as well as the launch of the Public Health England Better Health Campaign, which Slimming World is delighted to be a partner in. Slimming World welcomes the Government’s commitment to helping people living with excess weight improve their health, particularly the recognition of the vital role weight-management organisations play in supporting people to lose weight.

As part of the strategy, which outlines a number of measures from calorie labelling on food menus to banning TV and online adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm, there are also plans for the expansion of weight-management services to enable more people to access the support they need.

As the UK’s largest group-based weight management programme, Slimming World asked its members for their thoughts on the Government’s obesity strategy.

More than 1,300 members responded to Slimming World’s survey and the majority (90%) said they welcomed the new strategy. There was also widespread support for the Government’s commitment to expanding weight-management services, with 95% of members agreeing access to slimming clubs via referral from GPs should be available in every community, showing a real desire to move away from the postcode lottery that currently exists.

Slimming World 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.*

The majority of respondents (94%) also reported they believed they and their family were healthier since they joined Slimming World.

Commenting on the results of the poll, Slimming World’s Director of External Affairs Jenny Caven says: “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 likeminded people was the most important factor in them adopting healthy habits and making long-term changes to lose weight.”

“While it’s encouraging to see a package of measures being announced, legislative measures, like regulating junk food advertising or promotion and implementing calorie labelling, do not and cannot address the complex way that we think about food, or our attitude to weight and the process of losing weight – this is vital for a successful and sustainable weight-management strategy. As the Prime Minister himself 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 behaviour changes, 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 good 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. We’re pleased to see support being highlighted in the strategy and are hopeful we’ll see more detail and action around this in the very near future to ensure people can get equal access to this.”

“Slimming World already works with the Government via Public Health England as partners in the current Better Health campaign and with the NHS through our ‘slimming on referral’ service. Slimming World has the behaviour change expertise and is ready and able both through our local weekly groups and online programme to support members and their families in every community.”

Slimming World introduced a temporary virtual service when lockdown closed its community groups across the UK and Ireland. Throughout August and September Slimming World Consultants and members will be safely returning to their much-loved groups in the heart of communities, where guidance and venues allow. As well as being able to provide the very best weight-loss support, the health and wellbeing of members and Consultants is Slimming World’s absolute priority. To ensure that every member returning to their group does so feeling as safe, confident and comfortable as they possibly can Slimming World is closely monitoring Government and local authority guidance and supporting its Consultants to ensure full risk assessments are in place and all groups are COVID-19 secure.

Find out more about our groups reopening.

Read the full press release here.

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