Great Britain

Over 100,000 free NHS fat-fighting classes are up for grabs for overweight Brits

WEIGHT TO GO

MORE than 100,000 free NHS fat-fighting classes are up for grabs.

Overweight Brits can now self-refer themselves on to the slimming schemes.

The taxpayer-funded, £435-a-head programmes can either be done in person or online.

They offer diet and lifestyle advice alongside free cookery and exercise sessions, with those opting for digital classes also given NHS-funded Fitbits.

Previously, overweight patients needed to be referred by their GP. But many have missed out for fear of catching Covid.

Now those worried about their waistlines can use an online tool which asks about their age, weight and ethnicity before calculating their risk of diabetes.

If their score comes back as moderate or high, they can refer themselves to a local Healthier You programme.

Almost 300,000 people have used the tool in the past two months. But only 5,000 have self-referred to the programme.

The NHS has space to run 200,000 courses this year but more than 100,000 are still available.

More than half a million patients have been referred since 2016, with those completing the full nine months losing an average of 8lbs.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, of NHS England, said: “It is free and could be life-changing.”

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: “The real problem is, how many people know about this service?”

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