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Weight loss outcomes achieved by adults accessing an online programme offered as part of Public Health England’s ‘Better Health’ campaign

Toon, Josef; Geneva, Martina; Sharpe, Paul; Lavin, Jacquie; Bennett, Sarah; Avery, Amanda


Josef Toon

Martina Geneva

Paul Sharpe

Jacquie Lavin

Sarah Bennett


Effective use of health technology may offer a scalable solution to the obesity pandemic. Online digital programmes provide a convenient and flexible way for more people to access regular support. This service evaluation aims to determine whether adults accessing an online weight management programme via a national campaign are successful in losing weight. Data was analysed for adults registering with Slimming World’s online programme using a discounted membership offered as part of PHE’s ‘Better Health’ campaign between July and December 2020. Last-weight carried forward was used to calculate weight outcomes for participants who had the opportunity to complete 12-weeks and recorded ≥ one weight besides baseline. Engagement was determined using number of online weekly weights recorded with high engagers having weight data for ≥ 9 occasions. Socioeconomic status was assessed using postcode data. Resubscription and uploaded weight data were used to determine numbers who continued beyond the offer period. Twenty-seven thousand two hundred forty-eight adults (5.3% males) with mean age 41.0 ± 11.4 years met inclusion criteria. Mean baseline BMI was 33.4 ± 6.8 kg/m2 (29.2% 30–34.9, 18.3% 35–39.9 and 15.1% > 40 kg/m2). Mean weight loss at 12 weeks was 2.7 (± 3) kg representing a mean loss of 3% (± 3.1) body weight with 42.3% achieving ≥ 3% and 22.1% weight loss ≥ 5%. Median number of weigh-ins was six. Men had greater weight losses compared to women (p < 0.001). High engagers, both men and women, achieved greater weight losses (p < 0.001). Absolute weight loss was associated with joining BMI (rs = -0.15, p < 0.001) but for % weight change only small differences were seen (max effect size = 0.03) with no differences in weight change for high engagers between different baseline BMI categories (p > 0.05). 30.9% were in the lowest two IMD quintiles and absolute and percentage weight change did not differ across deprivation quintiles (p > 0.05). 34.9% continued to access the online support after the offer period. This service evaluation shows that an online programme, offered as part of a national campaign, can offer effective support to a large number of people with different starting BMIs and from different socioeconomic backgrounds. An increased level of engagement leads to better weight losses.


Toon, J., Geneva, M., Sharpe, P., Lavin, J., Bennett, S., & Avery, A. (2022). Weight loss outcomes achieved by adults accessing an online programme offered as part of Public Health England’s ‘Better Health’ campaign. BMC Public Health, 22(1), Article 1456.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 21, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 30, 2022
Publication Date Dec 1, 2022
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 12, 2022
Journal BMC Public Health
Electronic ISSN 1471-2458
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 1
Article Number 1456
Keywords Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
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