Diet & Weight

NHS weight loss programme: the results are in


* The first widely available NHS digital weight loss programme was launched in England in April 2021. Six service providers were commissioned by NHS England to provide a 12-week programme focused on eating less and doing more.

* Nearly 64,000 people in England were referred to the programme by their doctor. The first results have just been published.

* The study sought to find out:

1) What proportion of people referred took up the programme?

2) Do the characteristics (sex, age, ethnicity, deprivation score etc) suggest equitable access to the programme?

3) What was weight change, and did it vary by participant characteristic?

* This note answers these questions from the data in the paper and supplementary material. In brief: 1) half the people referred took up the programme and just over one fifth of those referred completed the programme; 2) yes; and 3) not very much and yes.

* In this note, I asked and answered two more questions:

4) Did the uptake and completion vary by service provider?

5) Did the weight change vary by service provider?

* I close with three things that I found interesting about the study and what Public Health England (as it was called then) should do to avoid needing programmes like this.

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