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NHS spends £4m sending obese patients to Weight Watchers

28th January 2013

Data obtained by Channel 4 has found the NHS spent £4 million sending obese people to Weight Watchers.


The programme Dispatches found the NHS spent around £800,000 annually between 2007-2012 on Weight Watchers.

GPs have been able to send overweight people to the weight loss courses since 2007, after the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence approved it.

A health service study published last month found people lost an average of three pounds more visiting Weight Watchers compare with other weight loss clubs.

However, Claire Friedemann, of the centre of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford, told the programme: "The danger with companies funding their own research is that they may only publish results which are positive for them."

She carried out an analysis of ten studies which made suggestions that Weight Watchers worked well and found eight of the studies had been founded by the company.

A Weight Watchers spokesman told the Daily Mail: "Weight Watchers has a transparent and credible approach to science. We work with world-renowned obesity researchers who run independent studies."

"Evidence from published papers demonstrates that the majority of those who lose weight with Weight Watchers' help do not regain it after the programme ends."


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