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Keywords:

  • General practitioners;
  • pharmacy;
  • socioeconomic deprivation;
  • weight management

Summary

This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of a novel, community-based weight management programme delivered through general practitioner (GP) practices and community pharmacies in one city in the United Kingdom. This study used a non-randomized, retrospective, observational comparison of clinical data collected by participating GP practices and community pharmacies. Subjects were 451 overweight or obese men and women resident in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation (82% from black and minority ethnic groups, 86% women, mean age: 41.1 years, mean body mass index [BMI]: 34.5 kg m−2). Weight, waist circumference and BMI at baseline, after 12 weeks and after 9 months were measured. Costs of delivery were also analysed. Sixty-four per cent of participants lost weight after the first 12 weeks of the My Choice Weight Management Programme. There was considerable dropout. Mean percentage weight loss (last observation carried forward) was 1.9% at 12 weeks and 1.9% at final follow-up (9 months). There was no significant difference in weight loss between participants attending GP practices and those attending pharmacies at both 12 weeks and at final follow-up. Costs per participant were higher via community pharmacy which was attributable to better attendance at sessions among community pharmacy participants than among GP participants. The My Choice Weight Management Programme produced modest reductions in weight at 12 weeks and 9 months. Such programmes may not be sufficient to tackle the obesity epidemic.