NHS slimming classes see 90,000 Britons lose average of five pounds

Laura Donnelly
Almost 90,000 people have taken part in the scheme  - PA

NHS slimming classes have seen almost 90,000 overweight Britons lose an average of almost five pounds each. 

Health officials said the results from the national weightloss programme were encouraging, and could ultimately save lives. 

Almost 90,000 patients have now taken part in the scheme, which involves coaching in nutrition and cooking, as well as exercise classes, for up to a year. 

Between them, they have now lost 185 tonne, health officials said - the weight of 43 ambulances, or 2.2 million Creme Eggs. 

On average, those attending more than five sessions dropped four and a half pounds, or 2.1 kg, the results show. 

The NHS intends to expand the national Diabetes Prevention Programme, to cover 200,000 people a year.

Around two in three adults in the UK are overweight or obese, putting more than 12 million adults at increased risk of diabetes.

Experts warn nine in ten cases are fuelled by excess weight.

The health service spends more than £10 billion annually treating diabetes, with one in six hospital beds occupied with someone with the condition. 

Record numbers are being treated on the NHS for obesity-related conditions, with cases rising by almost one quarter in just a year. Last year, figures showed the number of hospital episodes linked to excess weight tipped 1 million for the first time.

Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, said: “Around two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are now overweight or obese, driving higher and higher rates of type 2 diabetes that we are now focusing huge efforts to prevent.

“Helping people avoid diabetes is potentially life-saving, so these results are encouraging, but ultimately the NHS cannot win the fight against obesity alone, which is why we are providing people with the tools to help themselves – changing lives and freeing up vital NHS resources.”

A lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight are all risk factors for developing the disease.

Official figures reveal a record 25 amputations a day are now being carried out by the health service on diabetics. Surgeons removed 27,465 legs, feet and toes in England between 2015 and 2018 as a result of the disease.

Helen Dickens, Assistant Director of Policy and Campaigns at Diabetes UK, said: “The number of people who are living with obesity in England has almost doubled in the last 20 years.

“As obesity accounts for 80 to 85 percent of your risk of type 2 diabetes – programmes such as these are key to helping people prevent or delay the onset of the condition.”