Objectives: To assess participation in a costed Slimming on Referral service and identify factors associated with success.
Study design: Simple intervention offering participation in a new service to 100 eligible patients. The setting was two Derby general practices, one inner city and one suburban.
Participants: One hundred and seven patients (mean age 50 years) attending general practice for non-obesity reasons.
Inclusion criteria: BMI > or = 30, age > or = 18 years, not pregnant, no recent commercial weight management group membership, willingness to attempt weight loss.
Methods: Patients were offered free attendance at a local Slimming World group for 12 consecutive weeks. Body weight and height were measured at baseline, and questionnaires established perceived health, motivation to lose weight, employment, concerns, responsibilities and well-being. Weight was measured at each group visit. The main outcome measures were: (1) changes in body weight at 12 and 24 weeks, (2) social and demographic factors associated with barriers to enrolment, continued attendance and successful weight loss.
Results: Ninety-one (85%) patients attended a group, with 62 completing 12 weeks. Average weight loss in participants was 5.4 kg (6.4% baseline weight). Forty-seven then chose to self-fund, with 34 (37% original group) completing a further 12 weeks. Average weight loss over the total 24 weeks was 11.1 kg (11.3% baseline weight). Regular attendance was affected by income, financial concerns (independent of actual income), age, perceived importance of weight loss and initial weight loss success. Well-being of patients significantly improved between baseline and both 12 and 24 weeks.
Conclusions: Collaboration with an appropriate commercial weight management organization offers a feasible weight management option that is either similar to, or better than, other options in terms of attrition, efficacy and cost.