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Slimming clubs offered free to treat and prevent type 2 diabetes

New guidance gives people who are obese with type 2 diabetes priority in receiving free referral to slimming clubs.
The guidance is set out in the health guideline entitled ‘Managing overweight and obesity in adults – lifestyle weight management services’ which has been developed by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).
Under the guidance, GPs and other health practitioners are encouraged to offer referral to a 12 week slimming club plan to people with a BMI of 30 or more, giving particular priority to those with type 2 diabetes.
People with additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as those from ethnic minority groups should also receive greater consideration for referral at lower BMI values. The guidance also states that, where funding is available, referrals should also be considered for people with a BMI of between 25 and 30.
NICE has identified Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Rosemary Conley slimming clubs as being suitable for the 12 week plans as these have proven to be effective for durations over a year.
Slimming clubs offer a number of advantages in that they combine tried and tested diet plans, achievable exercise plans and motivation based on positive support. Another advantage of slimming clubs, noted by the guidance, is that they promote steady weight loss that can be continued through life.
Research has shown that, by contrast, diets that promote rapid weight loss tend to lack long term success, leading to yo-yo dieting whereby weight is lost then put back on once the diet is stopped.
The NHS has previously been criticised for only treating problems once they happen and not adequately funding prevention programmes. The new guidance from NICE bucks that trend by recommending spending to prevent conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer developing.
The increased access to slimming clubs for people with type 2 diabetes will give those that require help in losing weight to better avoid the complications of diabetes that can result from unresolved weight gain such as increased risks of osteoarthritis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and kidney disease.
As well as being debilitating, heart disease and cancer along with the potential complications of type 2 diabetes, all represent a huge cost to the NHS for treating these health conditions. The direct cost of obesity in 2007 was estimated to be £4.2 billion in 2007 and the figure has doubtless risen significantly in the seven years since. With this in mind, the costs of slimming club referrals are likely to represent a much smaller cost to the health service.

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