Weight loss can be difficult at the best of times. Temptation and easy options lurk round every corner and keeping up an active lifestyle can be difficult when attempting to juggle the many demands of day-to-day life.
In the battle against obesity, Over half of Welsh adults are currently ranked as overweight or obese.
Gastric bands, pills and restricted diets may provide a solution to the weight issue but the causes of over eating are often rooted in more than just diet. Many factors contribute to people’s behavioral patterns and eating habits are no different. Social, material, economic and environmental factors all have a bearing on people’s ability to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
The Garw valley in Bridgend, Wales is one area where service providers have really adopted the whole person approach to weight management. Their Weight Management Programme arose from one local GP’s frustration at the lack of local options to support obese patients and their desire to offer patients access to the established ‘slimming on referral’ schemes offered by the commercial weight management organisations.
From this the Weight Management Programme was born. The programme aimed to work to integrate health and leisure services as a non-clinical intervention for weight management. The programme involved shaping behaviour through group activities that maintained peer support, motivation and other social aspects. The programme involved referral and support from primary care, the Weight Watchers scheme, the exercise referral scheme and signposting to community activities to aid sustainable health promoting behavior change.
Dafydd Thomas, Executive Director at Lles Cymru Wellbeing Wales was commissioned to pilot a wellbeing assessment process to explore the range of factors affecting the participants, their wellbeing and in turn their ability or motivation to manage their weight.
The assessment explored the Weight Management Programme participant’s own subjective assessments of their wellbeing, grounded in the specific context of their community and experience using indicators that they themselves developed.
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