Slimming World Covid-19 research features at The European Congress on Obesity 2021


Slimming World’s latest research highlighting that virtual weight-loss support during lockdown can lead to clinically significant weight loss has been presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) 2021. 

An analysis of data from almost 2,000 UK adults who participated in a virtual weight-management support group during lockdown found that 1 in 4 (27%) lost a clinically meaningful amount of weight (5% or more of their body weight) within six weeks has been presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity. 

The data revealed that overall, participants lost an average of 7.4lbs (3.3kg) or 3.5% of their body weight in six weeks, which can bring substantial health benefits, such as reduced risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions and can bring other health benefits such as less joint pain, improved mobility, less breathlessness, better sleep, and reduced blood pressure. 

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Research and Scientific Affairs, at Slimming World, says: “The European Congress on Obesity is one of the world’s most important obesity research conferences and is at the forefront of where the latest studies and ideas into obesity, and more importantly, tackling obesity, are shared and discussed. 

“We are exceptionally proud to be presenting this research as we have found during the COVID-19 pandemic that while the impact of face-to-face peer support has long been recognised as a key factor in successful weight loss, when people can’t meet face-to-face, receiving support virtually can still be highly effective.” 

Researchers at Slimming World analysed weight and attendance data for 1,935 adults (93% female; average age 43 years) who joined a Slimming World group between 12th October and 17th November 2020, after taking advantage of a 6-week discounted membership as part of Public Health England’s ‘Better Health’ campaign. The campaign aims to encourage millions of adults to take action to improve their health, whether they want to lose weight, quit smoking or increase their activity levels. 

In all, 1,733 participants attended a mixture of in-person and virtual groups due to lockdown restrictions, and 202 attended all sessions virtually. Each week the virtual sessions were delivered via video conferencing. Members received behaviour change guidance to form new healthier eating habits, boost their motivation to become more active alongside the shared support of fellow members to remain motivated and focused on their weight-loss goals. 

The analysis found that men lost slightly more weight than women by six weeks (3.9% vs 3.5%), and members who took part in more sessions lost more weight, highlighting the benefits of coming together with other slimmers for regular support. Of those who attended at least five of the six weekly sessions (1,391 members), average weight loss rose to 8.3lbs (3.8kg) or 4.0% of body weight (compared to overall average 4.8 sessions and 3.5% [7.4lbs] weight loss). And 1 in 3 high attenders achieved clinically meaningful weight loss of 5% or more. 

For the full press release on the data titled 'Virtual weight-loss support effective in pandemic, research shows', please visit here

Notes to editors

About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE in Derbyshire in 1969 and has become the UK and Ireland’s leading weight loss organisation with more people choosing to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss programme. We support hundreds of thousands of people, both in our groups and online, to lose weight and to adopt new habits to stay slim for life.

Over the years our founding principles haven’t changed:

  • Our unique programme is based on a powerfully motivating support system called IMAGE (Individual Motivation and Group Experience) Therapy. Underpinned by a deep understanding of the psychology of overweight people, and incorporating the most effective sustainable behaviour change techniques, IMAGE Therapy is designed to inspire and motivate slimmers to make positive changes and to develop new, healthier habits around food and activity.
  • Food Optimising is our healthy eating plan, based on the liberating concept of Free Food. We encourage our members to fill up on those foods that are naturally lower in energy density (calories per gram) and also highly satisfying while limiting foods that are highest in fat and sugar and are less satisfying, so they lose weight without ever feeling hungry or deprived and without having to weigh, measure or count everything they eat.
  • Our activity programme, Body Magic, encourages members to become more active, more often in ways that they enjoy, until regular physical activity becomes an intrinsic part of daily routine.

Above all, at the heart of everything we do, lies our passion for treating every member with genuine care, empathy and respect.

We’re proud to work with the NHS, Public Health England, The Royal College of Midwives and others to help shape the future of weight management in the UK.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit slimmingworld.co.uk. Follow Slimming World on Twitter at www.twitter.com/slimmingworld or become a Slimming World fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/slimmingworld

For the Press Office visit our newsroom or email public.relations@slimmingworld.co.uk