NHS recommends 3% weight loss for obese people

childhood obesity

NHS backs new weight loss regime

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is promoting a new  “lose a little and keep it off” scheme, where overweight people to go to slimming classes which lead to 3% weight loss over a year.

The NHS is supporting these suggestions, as NICE recommends that by just dropping a few pounds, the risks of blood, pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers would be decreased.

A 3% drop in weight would mean the person would still be classed as obese, but NICE has emphasised that this advice is all about achievable aims which make weight loss seems less daunting. It also supports the use of weight loss classes such as NHS programmes as well as private businesses including Rosemary Conley, Slimming World and Weight Watchers.

Tackling obesity

Anyone with a BMI higher than 30 is classed as obese. Prof Mike Kelly, the director of the centre for public health at NICE, told BBC News that the guidelines were about lifelong change rather than yo-yo dieting, when the weight is piled back on after initial success. However some commentators believe that a 3% drop is not steep enough, although it is a step in the right direction.

“We would like to offer an instant solution and a quick win, a much greater ambition if you like, but realistically it’s important to bear in mind this is difficult. It is not just a question of ‘for goodness’ sake pull yourself together and lose a stone’ – it doesn’t work like that. People find it difficult to do – it’s not something you can just wake up one morning and decide I’m going to lose 10 pounds, it takes resolve, it takes encouragement,” he said.

“If people think they’ve got to lose over a stone, they don’t lose a stone and they get disheartened and they go back up – that isn’t going to help them. But if they can just lose a little bit, keep that weight off then that is going to give them a health benefit,” said Gill Fine,  a public health nutritionist who led the team devising the guidelines.

Know your numbers:

  • One in four adults in England are obese
  • A further 42% of men and 32% of women are classed as overweight
  • A BMI of 30-35 cuts life expectancy by up to four years
  • A BMI of 40 or more cuts life expectancy by up to 10 years
  • Obesity costs the NHS £5.1bn every year