A new digital weight management service is being offered by West Sussex County Council free to access for people who live or work in the county.

The program’s goal is to help people lose weight and stay healthy. Through education, recipes, on-demand fitness sessions, group and one-on-one coaching, people will be able to maintain healthy habits and reach self-selected objectives.

In response to the rising number of overweight and obese people in West Sussex, the Council’s Public Health department is giving free access to the Gro Health app.

This is in addition to a variety of already subsidised weight management programmes offered through West Sussex Wellbeing and the NHS.

Gro Health will offer an additional local programme for those wanting access to free digital support who do not qualify for the NHS digital weight management offer.

The number of adults who are overweight or obese in West Sussex has increased from 61.6% in 2019/20 to 63.8% in 2020/21 and 23.3% were classified as being obese.

Gro Health can be accessed online using a phone, tablet or computer, without the need to download any special software. The service can also be accessed via free apps available for both iPhone and Android for those who wish to download them.

It is the first time that people in West Sussex have been offered free access to such an innovative digital service for weight management without a GP referral.

Bob Lanzer, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at West Sussex County Council, said: “We are excited to be offering this clinically proven, free weight management app at a time of year when many people decide they want to make changes to improve their health and wellbeing.

“It is central to the commitment outlined in Our Council Plan for us to help people maintain and improve their health and wellbeing through advice and support.

Michaela de la Fosse, Operations Manager at DDM Health, providers of the Gro Health app said: “We are delighted to support people in West Sussex with Gro Health. The service has been co-developed with clinicians and residents to support their journey to a healthy weight and improve mental health.”

Gro Health has been shown to support people to lose weight, improve their mental health, reduce medications and even reverse conditions such as prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

In one study, on average, people completing the programme report an average weight loss of 6.9kg, or 6.5% of their starting weight.

In another study, after 12 weeks’ of app use, people using the app reduce their stress levels by 23% and anxiety levels by 31%.

People in West Sussex can check their eligibility and access the Gro Health service here.

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