IN THE NEWS: NHS – or Weight Watchers – which is best?

When you want to lose weight should you try a trip to your GP or try a commercial diet? Watching your weight

New research for Birmingham University has found that commercial diet plans are far more cost effective than programmes from NHS Dietitians run in GP’s surgeries.

Researchers at Birmingham University, studying 740 British dieters, discovered that the slimmers who attended a commercial slimming group lost three times as much weight as those treated through the NHS.

The best results were achieved by slimmers who attended sessions held by Weight Watchers. They lost an average of 4.4Kg over the three months whereas those treated by GP’s lost 1.4Kg.

Dr Kate Jolly, who led the study, said that a dozen, one-hour commercial sessions cost the NHS only slightly more than one GP’s appointment.

However, Holly Finnegan, nutritional expert at UK diet specialists All About Weight, warned: “Commercial diet plans are undoubtedly great value for the NHS. However, the NHS needs to be very careful over which programmes they support because studies have shown that many subjects find it hard to maintain their weight loss and put the weight back on over a short period of time.”

The Birmingham study said that benefits of losing weight included the reduced risk of diabetes and that slimmers who lost just seven pounds in weight could enjoy an extra year of life but that the weight loss has to be permanent.

Holly Finnegan said: “All About Weight is the UK’s fastest growing weight loss programme and is the only company which devotes as much energy into weight maintenance as it does in weight loss.”

“Clients can choose whether or not to attend group sessions but those who prefer not to still have very good social support online from other clients and nutritional support and advice from the nutrition department.

“Individuals log their weight loss journey online, keep a food and activity diary and use various other tools to keep them motivated and to help them to change their attitudes and thoughts towards food. Behaviour modification plays an important role in the weight maintenance stages and studies show that using online tools and keeping a food diary are the most effective methods for weight loss and for maintaining weight loss,” she said.

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