High Street pharmacies in England to help people lose weight
High street pharmacists in England can now refer customers who are concerned about being overweight to a free online NHS service to help them get in shape.
The programme, which is also available on a smartphone app, takes 12 weeks to complete, and offers support and tips on achieving healthy weight loss.
It is designed to help the estimated one in four adults who are obese.
Until now, obese patients with either high blood pressure or diabetes had to be seen by their GP to access it.
To be eligible for the programme, people need to have a body mass index (BMI) of over 30.
BMI is a measure of whether you're a healthy weight for your height. Being overweight increases the risk of a number of health conditions, including heart disease. During the pandemic, obesity has been linked to worse outcomes from Covid.
People from Asian, black and minority ethnic backgrounds can join the programme at a lower BMI of 27.5, due to their increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
For most adults, a BMI of:
18.5 to 24.9 means you're a healthy weight
25 to 29.9 means you're overweight
30 to 39.9 means you're obese
40 or above means you're severely obese
Dr Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England, said: "Obesity is a significant threat to the nation's health - it increases your chance of dying from Covid and puts you at greater risk of stroke, cancer and other deadly disease.
"The NHS's radical action plan means it is now easier for people to take control of their health - adults with obesity can now walk into any High Street community pharmacy to take the first step on a life-changing weight-loss journey."
Trained staff in pharmacies will work with people who want to lose weight and signpost them to a range of resources and available support, including the NHS weight management programme.
Source: BBC News Online