The overweight problem in the UK is rising and now claimed to exceed 60% of the adult population.
That, according to my calculator, is about 40 million people being either overweight or obese.
The concern over the effect of being overweight is highlighted by a recent research paper published by Conor Stewart (January 2020):
Strain on the health service
Being overweight increases the chances of developing serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers. In the period 2016/17, England experienced over 10.7 thousand hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of obesity, whereas in 2002/03 this figure was only 1,275 admissions. Furthermore, the number of bariatric surgeries taking place in England, particularly among women, has significantly increased over the last fifteen years. In 2016/17, almost 5.2 thousand bariatric surgery procedures were performed on women and approximately 1.6 thousand were carried out on men
Current solutions to the overweight problem
Even assuming bariatric surgery is a one-off and wholly successful solution to obesity (highly questionable), it doesn’t cater for those simply overweight. With a lack of NHS funds and surgeons to tackle 40 million people, this obesity solution to our overweight problem is not realistic. This may hint at why bariatrics are currently not heavily promoted by the NHS.
So, what are our options to help the 40 million overweight people?
Responses from the government are paltry…
Unfortunately, this anti-obesity message is just not being communicated by our government and NHS. Food labelling, traffic light systems and sugar taxes are just a sticking plater at best. These are simply not serious enough measures to effect a reversal of excess weight and obesity-related medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes. They are definitely not going to impact quickly enough for the obese most at risk during the current pandemic.
Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are serious diseases with often fatal outcomes. The current coronavirus pandemic merely adds Covid19 to the long list of serious risks to the overweight.
So do we look towards our esteemed scientists for the answers to our overweight problems?
Seemingly not when medical professionals publish meaningless results in highly respected peer reviewed medical journals like the Journal of the American Medical Association…
Findings In this cluster randomized trial of 840 patients with overweight or obesity and a diagnosis of hypertension or type 2 diabetes, the mean weight loss at 12 months was 1.2 kg in the usual care group, 1.9 kg in the online program only group, and 3.1 kg in the combined online program with population health management group. The difference in weight loss between the combined intervention group and either the usual care group or the online program only group was statistically significant.
Meaning Combining population health management with an online program resulted in a small but statistically significant greater amount of weight loss at 12 months compared with usual care or the online program only.
An average 3.1kg weight loss for the best group in a 12-month period will not help ANY medical problem. The internationally accepted threshold for medical benefit is 5% weight loss. For those overweight this often amounts to many more kilos than a relatively tiny 3kg weight loss.
The coronavirus pandemic’s abuse of the overweight is showing we do not have the time to tolerate these worthless approached to weight management. Much more rapid and effective weight loss methods are critical and now.
We make no apologies by telling you that with considerable published results, these necessary weight management interventions are currently being provided by healthcare professionals, primarily pharmacists, in the UK today and have been for over 30 years.
One of our dedicated participating Lipotrim healthcare professionals, Waistaway, published peer reviewed data this year.
The following abstract details 17 years worth of overcoming their local overweight problem:
Long-Term Evaluation of a UK Community Pharmacy-Based Weight Management Service Gareth Evans 1,* and David Wright 2 1 Community Pharmacist at Waistaway Ltd. 26 Seathwaite, Huntingdon PE29 6UY, UK 2 School of Pharmacy, University of East Anglia, Norfolk NR4 7TJ, UK; D.J.Wright@uea.ac.uk * Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org Received: 19 December 2019; Accepted: 15 February 2020; Published: 19 February 2020
Abstract: Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, reducing both the quality and quantity of life. Consequently, government healthcare costs are significant. A greater than 5% reduction in weight has been shown to result in significant improvements in type II diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol levels and therefore effective interventions are required. This paper reports the results from 17 years of delivering a private, individualised very low calorie diet (VLCD) programme in community pharmacy. In line with national guidelines, a community pharmacy-based private weight management service was set up to support individuals over the age of 18. After assessment for clinical suitability, individuals were offered either a flexible weight loss plan or a strict weight loss plan using a very low calorie diet (VLCD). The VLCD was delivered using the protocols of the proprietary programme, Lipotrim™. These individuals followed one or more dieting sequences, defined as at least one week of attendance whilst following the VLCD, without discontinuation, producing at least a start and end weight. Data were recorded weekly and audited for this report including weight and BMI on initial presentation, weight and BMI lost and % weight and BMI loss. A total of 1875 dieting sequences were recorded from 1023 dieters. In 1261 (67.3%) sequences, a medically beneficial weight loss of >5% was achieved. Overall, the cohort demonstrated mean (sd) % weight losses of 10.1% (7.7). Mean (sd) % weight losses seen in people with type 2 diabetes was 10.4% (2.7) and 10.6% (5.9) in hypertension. In total, 555 diet sequences accessed long-term weight maintenance support. In 173 (31%) of these cases, a second weight check post weight loss could not be made. The remaining 382 individuals presenting showed a mean (sd) weight gain of only 1.4kg (4.3) equating to a mean (sd) % weight gain of only 1.8% (4.6) over a mean (sd) number of days post weight-loss of 132 days (179). The results from this long-term review demonstrate that with proper provision of a nutritionally complete VLCD, through private service provision, community pharmacies can make a significant contribution to reducing the obesity epidemic at no cost to state-funded health systems.
This is just from one of our Lipotrim pharmacists who helped their patients achieve a total weight loss of 14,330 kg, across 1875 dieting sequences. Impressively, the average weight loss of more than a stone per dieter represents the medically significant, rapid and predictable weight loss of about a stone a month. Most importantly the cost to the NHS was £0.00.
So let’s leave the regular posturing by inferior weight loss solutions behind, even if they have some impressive scientist credentials. This Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) programme has been available to overweight UK people exclusively under healthcare professionals since 1987.
Perhaps the time has come to pay more attention to our serious overweight problem and take greater advantage of the Lipotrim programme before it is too late.