Obesity awareness week - where to find support

jeans with meter belt slimming on the green background

The growing problem of obesity in the UK frequently hits the headlines: an estimated one in four Brits are considered obese, almost 20 per cent of children leaving primary school have an obesity problem, and more than 12,000 hospital appointments every year are used to treat obesity-related conditions.

Last year, the National Obesity Forum launched National Obesity Awareness Week, which runs from 12 to 18 January this year and aims to help tackle the issue by promoting ways in which government, business and individuals can improve their health. If you are struggling to lose weight or control weight gain, here's how and where you can find help and support.

Weight loss apps
Technology has provided us with countless ways to get fit and lose weight, and many find apps can really help. For instance, if you're obese and forced to take exercise slowly, a diet apps might prove the answer, helping you to lose weight via diet so that you will be able to exercise more. Diet Assistant is free on both iPhone and Android, and all you need to do is enter your target weight. The app designs a meal plan to get you there healthily, creating daily menus and shopping lists to keep you on track.

Lose It is also free on both operating systems, and combines a calorie tracker and exercise plan to help you achieve your weight loss goals, but also includes groups and one-to-one connect features so that you'll have the support of fellow dieters. Noom Weight is also a good choice for obese dieters, as it focuses on establishing healthy eating habits. There's no quick fix here - the app simply coaches you on the smart way to eat and exercise, and motivates you along the way.

Slimming groups
Earlier this year, guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) urged GPs to prescribe slimming clubs and courses for obese patients, with the aim of encouraging sustainable weight loss healthily. Weight Watchers tops the lists of effective diet plans and slimming groups year after year, and educates members about diet and nutrition, setting a solid foundation for long-term changes.

It is also worth speaking to your GP about MoreLife services. Specifically designed to tackle the UK's obesity problem, you can sign up for a free 49-week adult specialist weight management programme, and there are family clubs up and down the country to help parents and kids get healthy.

Help and support
If you're seriously overweight, the usual advice about eating fresh fruit and veg and heading down to the gym aren't always terribly helpful, particularly if you have deeper-seated issues with food. Your GP will be only too happy to help suggest support groups and counselling that might help, but if you'd prefer to seek advice elsewhere, the likes of Overeaters Anonymous, which has a support meetings worldwide, Hoop UK, Beat and the National Obesity Forum all offer helplines, online forums where you can chat to others in similar situations, tips and advice on coping with and losing weight, and emotional support. So don't keep suffering - if you know your weight is a problem, seek help.

Have you recently managed to lose weight? What advice would you give to others? Leave your comments below...
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