A new initiative to help patients achieve a healthy weight and boost their wellbeing has been launched by the Department of Health and Social Care.
The NHS Digital Weight Management Programme – backed by £12 million of government funding – will offer free online support via GP and primary care teams referrals for adults living with obesity, who also have a diagnosis of either diabetes, high blood pressure or both, to help manage their weight and improve their health.
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‘We want to make the healthier option the easy option, but we still know losing weight can be difficult for people. Making sure the right support is available means that we can help individuals make the most of the positive impact that reaching a healthier weight can have both physically and mentally. The benefit is theirs,’ said Public Health Minister Jo Churchill.
‘It’s really important we help people access services that are convenient for them and tailored to their needs. By expanding virtual and face-to-face weight management support across the country, we’re bringing improved health and wellbeing closer to home.’
The government is providing £30 million of new funding to councils across England to roll out expanded management services for adults living with obesity. Services can be delivered face to face, remotely or digitally. With 98% of councils accepting the funding, individuals will be able to sign up for this help via their primary care services or in some areas refer themselves via their local authority.
In most areas, services will include 12-week sessions, with dietary advice, physical activity guidance and support to help people start and maintain healthier habits.
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‘The NHS Long-Term plan committed the NHS to a stronger focus in preventing illness and reducing the serious health concerns that people living with obesity can experience, including the higher risks of more severe outcomes with COVID,’ said Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity.
‘The new NHS Digital Weight Management Programme will offer online access to weight management services for tens of thousands of people living with obesity who also have diabetes or hypertension or both, with a strong focus on reducing health inequalities, improving quality of life and longer term health outcomes.’