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Obese people achieve better results with smartphone app than attending appointments

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The associated costs to the NHS of people being overweight or obese are projected to reach £9.7 billion per year by 2050

Severely overweight NHS patients have achieved better results on their weight loss programme by using a smartphone app. 

Research shows the weight loss has been more effective than attending traditional face to face meetings.

In the research 169 people living with severe obesity took part in a Tier 3 weight management programme for 12-16 weeks. 

The programme was commissioned jointly by the NHS and local authority in West Yorkshire and provided by digital weight management provider Oviva. Participants had a BMI of at least 40 – and were referred onto the programme by their GP. 

The app has been shown to be more effective than traditional face-to-face appointments when it comes to losing 5 per cent of weight and the most body mass.

Over 64 per cent of people opted to join the programme on the app, compared to 28.4 per cent who chose face-to-face participation and 7.1 per cent who opted for over the phone. This was before the global Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 53 per cent achieved a weight loss of 5 per cent. This compares to 47.9 per cent of face-to-face participants and 33 per cent of phone participants. 

Through the app, patients tracked their physical activity and food intake by uploading pictures of meals and snacks; and measured their blood glucose levels if they had diabetes. A specialist weight management dietitian reviewed their progress, sending regular feedback and support via app messages each week.  

The associated costs to the NHS of people being overweight or obese are projected to reach £9.7 billion per year by 2050. 

Adults who are overweight or live with obesity are at a much higher risk of developing conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. 

Cllr Jacquie Speight, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Here at Wakefield Council we wanted to incorporate the digital healthcare element into our weight management service as we felt it would improve accessibility and provide a tailored approach for our service users.

“From our experiences we’ve found not only does it do this, it can also improve adherence and offer a level of flexibility that can only be beneficial for all involved.”

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