Weight loss: NHS backs ‘lose a little, keep it off’ plans

New weight loss guidelines for the NHS in England will advise people to “lose a little and keep it off” for life.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) wants overweight people sent to slimming classes with the aim of a 3% weight loss.NICE said even such a small loss – probably of just a few pounds – would cut blood pressure and reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes and some cancers. Two in three adults in England are overweight – with a BMI higher than 25. Someone weighing 15st 10lb would need to lose just over six pounds to cut their weight by 3%. If they were 5ft 7in, their BMI would drop from 35 to 33. Anyone with a BMI of more than 30 is classed as obese.

  • One in four adults in England are obese
  • A further 42% of men are classed as overweight
  • The figure for women in 32%
  • A BMI of 30-35 cuts life expectancy by up to four years
  • A BMI of 40 or more cuts life expectancy by up to 10 years
  • Obesity costs the NHS £5.1bn every year


The guidance for the NHS in England said weight-management programmes should:


  • Tackle diet, physical activity and change behaviour
  • Be focused on lifelong change not short-term gains
  • Last at least three months, but set target weights for the end of the programme and after one year
  • Plan to reduce calorie intake, but not ban specific foods or food groups
  • Introduce physical activity into daily life such as walking
  • Be respectful and non-judgemental