Monday, 28 January 2013

That was then, this is now.

BBC July 2010:

A leading nutritionist says GPs should send obese patients to weight-loss schemes rather than offer NHS help because they will see better results.

Dr Susan Jebb of the Medical Research Council* found in a study that people in a WeightWatchers programme lost twice as much weight as those with GP care. WeightWatchers part-funded the study, but Dr Jebb stressed similar schemes would be as effective. The National Obesity Forum said buying in services could benefit NHS patients...

Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said: "GPs are generalists by definition whereas WeightWatchers are the 'consultants' in their field. It's therefore not surprising that the latter achieve the better results. Referral to any organisation with a proven weight-loss system which can be replicated anywhere has to be the best option for the patient, the GP and the NHS.

Spotted by Bob E in The Daily Mail January 2013:

The NHS has spent £4million on sending fat people to Weight Watchers over the past five years. GPs now routinely refer patients to the classes, which cost 'private' visitors around £45 for three months.

Recent studies have found the courses to be highly effective at helping people lose weight. GPs have been able to send patients to them on the NHS since 2007, after they were approved by the rationing watchdog NICE. They are offered by two-thirds of Primary Care Trusts...

However, concerns have been raised that many pro-Weight Watchers studies are funded by the company itself, and may therefore be biased. Claire Friedemann, of the centre of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford, told Dispatches: "The danger with companies funding their own research is that they may only publish results which are positive for them."

After analysing ten studies that suggested Weight Watchers was effective, she found that eight had been paid for by the firm itself. Her analysis also showed that while many Weight Watchers patients lost weight within the first three months, some had put it back on again after five years.

* From the MRC website:

Alignment with industry in research, training and translational investments is at the heart of the MRC's strategy and delivery plan - we are committed to developing and sustaining close and productive partnerships with industry in the UK. All our research boards and funding panels benefit from industry representation to ensure strong input from the private sector.

At present, we fund collaborative research with over 80 companies, ranging from large pharmaceutical companies to biosciences and healthcare companies. Notable successes include the The Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) (also called the Dundee Kinase Consortium) which has attracted £10.8 million in joint funding from five of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies and the Centre for Drug Safety Science which currently collaborates with six different industrial partners on non-competitive projects with the aim to ultimately produce safer drugs for patients.


The Stigler said...

Dieting doesn't work. You're denying the body what it is demanding. You might be able to fight it today, tomorrow or the following day, but eventually, you'll give in and hit the cream cakes.

"After two years, the Weight Watchers group maintained a 6.4 pound weight loss (compared to 0.5 pounds in a self-help group). Even though the Weight Watchers group lost weight, at $12 per week that cost would be $1,248 for 2 years of weekly meetings, equal to $208 per pound of weight lost."

In other words, it has a pathetic level of weight loss. It might get a woman in the next size dress, if she's lucky.

There are only 3 answers to weight: 1) exercise 2) gastric bands 3) therapy (if your body is craving foods because of emotional needs, you have to fix the emotional needs).

GPs would be better to pay for people to go to dancing lessons.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TS, that's the beauty of the system. WW doesn't really work in the long run, so they can keep getting the same people referred back again and again for the rest of their lives. The most profitable treatments are the ones which don't really work.

. said...

Everyone knows how to lose weight. Weight Watchers and the like are simply self-help groups for those who cannot decide to live healthily off their own bat.


Ian Hills said...

Good expose of corruption. Expect fat tax on food soon "in our own best interests".