A comparison of range of commercial or primary care led weight reduction programmes

West MidlandsCardiovascular
Published Date: 1 Feb 2012

A comparison of range of commercial or primary care led weight reduction programmes

Background 

A 12-week group based dedicated programme of weight management can result in clinically beneficial levels of weight loss

  • This research compared the effectiveness of the UK’s biggest commercial slimming clubs with that of primary care led weight loss programmes via GPs and pharmacies in South Birmingham Primary Care Trust. 
  • 740 obese or overweight adults followed programmes from Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Rosemary Conley, a group based dietetics programme, one-to-one counselling with either GPs or pharmacists for 12 weeks or a choice of any of the six programmes. 
  • A control group was provided with 12 vouchers to access local leisure centres.

Findings

  • Commercially provided weight management services are more effective and cheaper than primary -care based services.
  • Weight loss was measured at 3 months and after 1 year. 
  • After three months all programmes achieved weight loss. Those using GP support lost an average of 3lbs, while Weight Watchers participants shed more than 9.5lbs. 
  • After 1 year, dieters using Weight Watchers were also most successful at keeping off the weight, compared to those in the primary care programmes. Other commercial slimming clubs also performed well.
  • The primary care programmes were the most costly to provide.