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NHS diet works: plump Britons see average weight loss of half a stone

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 5 days ago By Laura Donnelly, Health Editor

Man holding a measurement tape © Provided by Shutterstock Man holding a measurement tape Overweight Britons given diet coaching by the NHS are losing an average of more than half a stone each, the head of the health service has said.

Simon Stevens said the flagship programme, soon to be offered in every part of the country, had already exceeded expectations.

Results from the first schemes show overweight patients who completed most of the sessions lost an average of eight pounds each - equivalent to the weight of 15 Big Macs.

Forecasts had predicted average weight loss of around five pounds.

Under the programme, overweight patients are sent for around a dozen classes on diet, cooking and keep kit, costing the state around £435 per head, over a period of up to nine months.

Officials say the measures will pay for themselves by preventing thousands of cases of diabetes.

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So far more than 150,000 patients have been referred for courses, with men making up around half of participants.

Today Mr Stevens will tell Diabetes UK’s annual conference that the controversial programme is reaping rewards, and said NHS efforts to tackle obesity were also showing promise.

“The NHS is already leading the way in the battle against the obesity crisis by slashing the sale of sugary drinks and super-sized snacks in hospitals, and the results now coming out of our diabetes prevention programme are also positive,” he will say.

“Obesity is the new smoking and the scale of our response needs to match the scale of the crisis.”

The NHS chief executive will say orders to hospitals to remove supersize snacks are already showing success, with more than 1 million fewer chocolate bars sold on NHS premises last  year.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: "For a programme that is still emerging from its pilot stages these early results, though not brilliant, are indeed better than hoped for.”

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