New research from FLAB discovers outdated NHS advice is contributing to the UK's weight crisis, as 86% suffer low self-esteem after obesity diagnosis

LONDON, June 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — New research has found that the UK government’s failure to update outdated advice to help those living with obesity is preventing the NHS from effectively treating people and costing the already stretched health service.

The poll of 1,500 adults, of which 89% considered themselves heavier than average, showed that many people living with obesity have low self-esteem. Two thirds (64%) have been told they had obesity by a health professional and 86% felt negative about themselves as a result.

The report highlights how current advice on the official NHS website is based on outdated tactics, such as BMI measurements, weight loss groups, calorie counting and diet food alternatives, which shame people into trying to lose weight, creating low self-esteem, and ultimately having the opposite effect.

Nearly half (46%) had joined a weight loss group, one of the methods advised by the NHS to slim down. Whilst 75% did lose weight they ultimately put it back on, with only 7% managing to keep it off and 40% feeling negative about themselves after attending. Less than 5% were aware of the role genetics play in weight management.

The research was commissioned by size-inclusive cycling wear brand FLAB, who are urging the government to stop using archaic weight loss advice which undermines people’s ability to have a healthy relationship with their body and what they eat.

Dr Stephanie de Giorgio, obesity expert commented: “We need to get serious about the science behind obesity to help those who are living with the condition, rather than telling them they simply need to eat less and exercise more. By giving advice that makes people feel bad when they ultimately lose and regain their weight, or don’t lose enough to reach a “normal BMI”, we are adding to the stigma which is prevalent throughout society.”

Lynn Bye, Co-Founder of FLAB added: “The effects of weight stigma take a huge toll on people who aren’t deemed to be average size and whilst those living with obesity are being given archaic and outdated advice these stereotypes are being reinforced by the government.”

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Research conducted with 1500 members of the FLAB community during May 2023.

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New research from FLAB discovers outdated NHS advice is contributing to the UK's weight crisis, as 86% suffer low self-esteem after obesity diagnosis WeeklyReviewer

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