Government Weight Loss Programs Work

A recent report on the BBC revealed that government backed weight loss plans do work and there should be more.

Adina Campbell reported for BBC Newsbeat that of 35,000 people who joined a 12 week weight loss course with Slimming World, 2 in 3 lost around a stone.

Weight loss support groups provide many people, especially women, with the support that they really need to help them to stay on track with their healthy diet and exercise plans.

These groups can really help to boost a persons confidence and improve their self esteem as they learn not only that there are others in the same situation but that with perseverance healthy eating and regular exercise really is the most effective way to lose weight and get fit.


The government has received some criticism for partnering with private weight loss schemes, however, there is not really any other option. Although GPs and nurses can give advice on how to eat healthily and how to exercise, they cannot be on hand each week to provide motivational support. Although in an ideal world such support should come naturally from friends and family, this all too often is not the case. This is where support groups such as Slimming World and Weight Watchers can really help.

Currently the UK government spends approximately £4 million a year on schemes to combat obesity and the Department of Health is planning to review its weight loss initiatives and spending over the next few months.

Weight Loss Groups are Cheaper than Medication

Weight loss groups are proving to be a cost effective partnership for the government because they are run by specialists who have many years of experience is health, nutrition, exercise and weight loss issues. Many NHS Trusts recommend that overweight people join such clubs to regain control of their weight and health.

Currently the NHS will pay for the initial membership which is around £50 for 12 weeks with Slimming World. If a doctor prescribes weight loss medication the bill is likely to be at least twice as much and the patient does not learn how to properly manage their weight in the long term.

High Drop Out Rates

Unfortunately many slimming clubs do have high drop out rates, with up to 33% of new joiners leaving Slimming World in the first 12 weeks. Generally people who chose to join a scheme are much more successful than those encouraged to join by a family doctor.

Ideally the government and NHS trusts should be setting up dedicated weight loss support groups in the same way that they organise support groups for first time mums. People are generally more than happy to meed like-minded people and help each other out, which is why weight loss groups do work. The trick is to encourage people to join the groups and then stick to the plan.

Understanding why people drop out is the key really. Some people possibly need a greater incentive to stay on the plan or to work harder at weight loss and fitness. Many people fall in easily and lose the weight quickly while others seem to get nowhere. This is where the support is really needed.

Source: BBC News: Concerns over NHS referrals to weight loss programmes

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