Obesity: At last, a new NHS approach
OBESITY is like a slow-motion car crash that could cripple the NHS, says its new chief executive, Simon Stevens. Well, we can’t say we haven’t been warned. Mr Stevens considers that obesity is a bigger threat to health and public finances than smoking.
Mr Stevens (below) has only been in charge of NHS England since April and already he is sending out some important wake-up calls. The question is, will enough people listen?
The facts are horrific: The NHS spends an estimated £14billion a year treating obesity, up to £9billion of it on the effects of type 2 diabetes.
What concerns me most is that last year the NHS carried out 9,936 weight loss operations at an estimated cost of £100million.
This worries Mr Stevens, too. He told a Public Health England conference: “ It’s bizarre that we are spending more nationally on bariatric surgery than we are on implementing evidence-based programmes to prevent diabetes.”
I’ll be writing to him to present the evidence of our independent clinical trials into the effectiveness of Slimpods in making lifestyle changes that bring about weight loss.
We have many examples of Slimpod users who have drastically reduced their diabetes medication (or come off it altogether in some cases) and we have brilliant case histories of people who considered bariatric surgery until a Slimpod helped them solve their weight issues at a fraction of the cost.
In October, Mr Stevens will publish plans to tackle obesity in different ways, including urging the NHS and private firms to do more to help staff lose weight.
He has personal experience of this. His previous job was as Vice President of the American company United Health, the world’s largest private healthcare company.
United Health is one of those enlightened employers which offers staff incentives, including financial ones, if they make health improvements, such as losing weight.
Mr Stevens lost 40lbs in the past three years. “It was just a little nudge,” he says, “but sometimes we could all use that.”
Giving people a little nudge towards beneficial lifestyle changes is exactly what our Slimpods and Fitpods do. I can see that Mr Stevens and I are going to have a lot in common we can talk about.
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