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Slimming World as a "Quick Fix"!?

Taken from BBC - Newsbeat - Concerns over NHS referrals to weight loss programmes

The government should continue to refer people onto weight loss programmes, a new report suggests.

Figures from a Slimming World study over five years followed nearly 35,000 people on a 12-week course.

More than two thirds completed the course and each lost around a stone during that period.

However, some health groups have criticised the government for using private weight loss organisations.

Over the last decade the government has formed partnerships with private firms to try to curb worrying obesity levels.

It's estimated the government spends more than £4m a year tackling obesity.

The Department of Health says it will be looking into the way it tackles obesity over the next few months.

However, ministers insist slimming groups help people with motivation and are cost effective.

Dozens of NHS trusts across the UK recommend people join slimming clubs to help them achieve a healthy lifestyle.

'Quick fix'?

Someone with a weight problem can be referred onto groups such as Slimming World and in most cases the NHS will pay for membership to get them started.

Twelve weeks on a Slimming World programme costs the NHS around £50 per person, half of what it would cost for weight loss medication such as diet pills.

However, some charities say they are only a short term solution.

Continue reading the main story
Most people re-gain the weight they lose within two years, and many gain more than they first lost.

He said: "The government has got to come up with a solution to stop people getting fat in the first place.

"It's relying too much on companies like Slimming World and Weight Watchers to do their job for them and it would be far better to put money into real prevention measures."

Beat, the UK's biggest Eating Disorder Charity, also supports the NOF's argument.

Chief Executive Susan Ringwood said: "Most people regain the weight they lose within two years, and many gain more than they first lost.

"Quick fixes that don't work just add to someone's sense of failure and can lead to the downward spiral of helplessness that can lead to much more serious mental health issues."

Twenty-two-year-old Debbie Rugg from Somerset has dropped from a size 20 to a size 12 since she was referred by her doctor to Slimming World last Summer.

The NHS spent nearly £37m on anti-obesity drugs last year
She was diagnosed as clinically obese and had spent time in hospital after doctors feared her weight was having a deteriorating effect on her health.

She said: "At my heaviest, I was 15 stone and decided to do something about it after a breast cancer scare and lumps appearing on my body.

"I was given 12 weeks' worth of free vouchers and in the last ten months I've lost two and a half stone.

"Without being advised to join the programme and having my initial membership paid for, it wouldn't have given me the push I needed to get down to a healthy size."

Weight loss alternatives

However, the Slimming World study did show a third of people dropped out before completing their 12-week course, with critics suggesting more improvements are needed when it comes to long term weight loss plans.

Recent results from a weight loss scheme in Kent showed high drop-out rates and disappointing weight loss results overall.

Hundreds of people were given a cash reward, ranging between £70 and £425, depending on how much weight they lost during set target periods.

However two thirds of people on the 'Pounds for Pounds' programme didn't lose a clinically significant amount of weight and many dropped out before their course was over.

There are other weight loss treatments available on the NHS such as diet pills.

Last year the NHS spent nearly £37m on anti-obesity drugs. Other treatments include working with dieticians and psychologists.

In the most extreme cases, some people may choose weight loss surgery, such as gastric band operations.

Latest figures show there are more than 4,000 weight loss surgery procedures, done on the NHS every year - each operation costs anything between £5,000 and £14,000.


Quick fix my arse.
It's really annoyed me.
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My reading of that is theyre not saying SW diet is a quick fix theyre saying the 12 week referral is. Its potentially pushing people to a diet they dont want to follow or doesnt suit them and once the 12 weeks are up thats it. I think its more the scheme theyre referrring to not SW. The failure rate is probably so high because lets face it until you want to lose weight and til you find the right diet youre not going to get the click and get in the right mindset.


Gold Member
I think it's referring to the 12 weeks being a "quick fix".

This is a statement which irks me

"The government has got to come up with a solution to stop people getting fat in the first place".

HOW???!!!! Give us someone to stand over our shoulder every time we eat cake/chocolate/fatty food etc?

It's also true that many people who lose weight and don't continue to go to group gain the weight back, if not more. Not all, but many.
You can't change peoples minds ... If charities think it's not a good solution, have they come up with something better? So how can the NHS prevent people from getting fat in the first place? Let me think..

1. Boycott the food industry and convince the gvt to make Britain a communist country so all the food is rationed...

2. Force people not to get divorced so that their kids don't become depressed and start eating out of frustration...

3. Get rid of cars and give everyone a bike..

4. Get rid of TV's and Internet..so people find an alternative to wast their time

Any other suggestions??

Obesity is the result of industrialization...You can't turn back time and you can't force people to lose weight. I think they should maybe give people the choice between different slimming clubs so they can decide what's best for them. But that's all they can do - I think that's a lot better than just sending the patient home and telling them to get off their lazy ars* and stop stuffing their faces!!


Gold Member
S: 17st2lb C: 16st2.5lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 36.6 Loss: 0st13.5lb(5.63%)
The finance of the food industry could be looked at though. We have a crazy situation where getting cheap fatty takeaways are a cheaper option than cooking healthy food from scratch. I live in a very poor borough in London and see so many cheap take aways down all the high streets. Many people in hostels and shared housing don't have access to cooking facilities either and you can see everywhere how overweight people generally are. A lot of it is down to poverty, poor housing and a culture that sees going out to eat at a fast food place a good way to spend time with friends and family.

More education around healthy choices, less advertising of fatty and generally unhealthy foods would be good too. Weren't coco pops being advertised recently as a good snack for when children come home from school as well as a breakfast option? I'm sure schools do what they can - thanks Jamie Oliver but from what I see its not really sinking in.

And it is true about the vast number of people who regain the weight they have lost, if the over eating is due to psychological reaons then that needs to be addressed as well.

The NHS is falling apart as it is, or so it seems around here anyway. Services are closing, departments can take no more referals as they have tooo amny on their books already ....

So maybe SW vouchers are better than nothing but it is IMHO and to use a cliche nothing but a band aid over a broken leg
I reckon the next step will be higher tax on "unhealthy" foods. It wont stop people eating them, but it will make the government loads of cash and make them look good to the people who think we need nannying to live our lives at a perfect standard.

It wont do anything to stop the obesity crisis, but it will provide a pretence that the government is acting to try and stop it, and make them a load of cash in the process.
I still don't think it's entirely the NHS' fault - Sorry but if you believe an advert that claims that Coco Pops is healthy then people don't need more education but a complete brain transplant!! How many of us have regained weight despite knowing what's goo for us and what not? I didn't need SW to tell me that more fruit and veg is better than a chocolate bar. But we still prefer chocolate because it is readily available and it tastes good. And it has nothing to do with the price either..if I want to eat something I buy it no matter how much it costs. There are only 2 options: Controlling the food that is being sold/manufactured or controlling peoples actions - I think none of these options are realistic...losing weight (and gaining it) starts in our heads. Nobody can blame anyone else for our weight than ourselves. Of course, it would be a lot easier if certain factors just didn't exist (depression, stress, food that can easily be bought - we don't even have to move to get it)..But the upshot of it is: We all have a free will!! Blaming the NHS or the Govt is counter-productive as this is just an easy way to not have to think about our actions...

As you are mentioning Jamie Oliver - Remember how the parents reacted when he tried to educate them about healthy food choices? They didn't welcome his project in the slightest...It's the attitude of people which is the problem. I have an uncle in law and he ways about 30 stone!!! He can't move - he can't do anything but he can still stuff his face. Yes, he suffers from depression but you should see his face if his carer denies him that take away or that chocolate..he gets really aggressive - This man does not want to lose weight - he rather feels sorry for himself all day long (I know what it is like because I suffer from depression myself) and stuffs his face. Although he know that it will kill him - Now he wants to have a gastric bypass..don't want to think about how much THIS will cost the NHS..but he thinks it's an easy option. But he knows he has to lose weight for this operation and I hope for him that he will tackle his weight. But it's not the NHS that made him look the way he is - not is it their fault that he doesn't really want to lose weight. Slimming Clubs in my mind are the most efficient and cost saving way to motivate people to lose weight. If that doesn't open their eyes, nobody can!


Gold Member
S: 17st2lb C: 16st2.5lb G: 12st0lb BMI: 36.6 Loss: 0st13.5lb(5.63%)
I'm not blaming the NHS - I'm saying they can't cope.

Yes, our weight issues are in our heads, I agree there but then you go on to say you buy whichever you prefer regardless of cost. Not every one is in this situation. I'm still very aware of how I could walk down my local high street and get chicken takeaways or pizza and chips for a minimal amount of money. Aparantly it is a sign of the increasing povery of an area when the number of establishments like this increase. I don't know for sure but I suspect that there is a higher incidence of obesity in poorer people - noticing in different areas I travel to how the shape and size of the people varies

Yes, you could cook a very basic meal for less, but that involves wanting to eat something like lentil soup. Personally, that is what I prefer but its not what most people prefer and again, lots of people don't even have acess to cooking facilities. Or the knowledge or the awareness.

I'll agree with you again about people not wanting to take personal responsibility for themselves - look at the number of smokers still and the number of young people still starting to smoke. Mind you, that is apparantly one of the hardest addictions to beat. Education has to come from people that our youngsters respect, and that is not always schools - and you quote Jamie Oliver not being respected, I believe he has changed a fair bit though but am not really up to date on this as I only watched his American programmes after hearing about the UK ones. Not an issue I'm qualified to debate on.

Advertising fatty and sugary treats has been banned, AFAIK, during programmes aimed specifically at children but they still abound and children still see them and what the advertisers rely on is 'pester power' despite what the parents might know and prefer for their children. It must work or they wouldn't bother spending the millions that ads cost.

I suppose that what I'm saying is that yes, weight issues are in many case psychological issues, but for many people this is compounded by the stresses and realities of living in poverty. Offering vouchers for SW is good but it can only be part of the solution. And I've not got the faintest idea what the solution is. Well, I've got some pretty draconian ideas but I doubt they'd work .... :)
"The government has got to come up with a solution to stop people getting fat in the first place".

Oooh - this makes me mad on so many levels. The government need to do jack to stop me getting fat. I'm an adult - i don't need these busybodies telling me how to live my life - i'm the one who decides whar i eat or drink thank you very much, and i will deal with the consequences of my choices, Who do they think they are???

On the subject of the 12 weeks beinf a quick fix, i think that is not long enough for any plan, and if they really want to properly interfere, they should be fuding a years subscription to a weight loss group ( not necessarily just SW) rather than 12 weeks

Gggrrr - am so mad i want to eat a cake to prove to the interfering to^+era they can't tell me what to do.

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