Free NHS community service to help you lose weight

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A NEW, improved and free NHS weight management service has been launched.

The Community Weight Management Service, which has been available for three years, was previously offered on a referral-only basis by local healthcare professionals, but residents in Ribble Valley and across East Lancashire can now refer themselves to the service.

Through a 12-week weight management programme, it will help people to make long-lasting changes to their lifestyle to reduce or maintain their weight. The two-hour weekly sessions will include education around nutrition, dietary change and physical activity.

Natalie Cross, Health Development Commissioning Manager at NHS East Lancashire, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to lose weight but has been unsuccessful in managing their weight alone or through a commercial weight loss group.

“Unfortunately obesity is a problem in East Lancashire, but by working with our partners in the local borough councils and leisure trusts, we have the chance to change that and help people live longer and healthier lives.”

An alternative to the 12-week lifestyle programme is the choice of individually tailored face-to-face appointments with a dietitian.

Gilly Rosic, Weight Management Care Pathway Co-ordinator at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, which is are managing the service, said: “Weight loss is not just about eating less and exercising more, it is about changing unhealthy behavior and making a life-long commitment to sustain those changes.

“We understand support is the key to losing weight and therefore offer long-term follow up support after completion of the programme.”-

The free service is available in each of the five boroughs in East Lancashire – Ribble Valley, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle and Rossendale – at a range of venues.

Programmes are 12 weeks long, last for two hours and include exercise (adapted to individual ability), a health education session which gives clients the tools to make changes to their diet and improve motivation, as well as a weekly weigh-in. There is a comprehensive menu of continuation exercise and weigh-in sessions to maintain motivation and support continued weight loss. Men only, ladies only and mixed programmes are available.

For more information call the Weight Management Co-ordinator free on 0300 3000 130, e-mail or complete one of the self-referral leaflets available at GP practices, health centres, hospitals, leisure providers and community venues across East Lancashire.