WeightWatchers really IS the best diet plan to follow if you want to shed the pounds, according to NHS research
80% of patients referred to three popular diet plans lost more than 11lbsSlimmers signed up to WeightWatchers were most likely to lose a significant amount of weight

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UPDATED:

15:33 GMT, 19 December 2012

Patsy Kensit was recently unveiled as Weight Watchers Celebrity Ambassador. The diet plan was the most effective at helping patients shed weight in a recent study

Patsy Kensit was recently unveiled as WeightWatchers Celebrity Ambassador. The diet plan was the most effective at helping patients shed weight in a recent study

Slimmers who have failed to shed the pounds on their own should consider trying a popular diet programme, according to an independent study.

NHS research revealed 80 per cent of patients referred to plans such as Slimming World and Rosemary Conley lost more than 11lbs. However, the most successful slimmers were signed up to WeightWatchers.

The report published in the Journal of Public Health looked at over 1,400 would-be slimmers in North Somerset in a scheme organised by local NHS doctors. Patients were put on one of the three popular diet plans.

It found patients attending Weight Watchers were 54 per cent more likely to lose 11lbs than those on Slimming World and Rosemary Conley. They were also 81 per cent more likely to shed five per cent of their total body weight. This effect was sustained a year down the line.

The aim of the research was to analyse the effectiveness of the NHS paying for overweight people to sign up to established slimming programmes.

It follows a study published last year in The Lancet that found overweight and obese adults referred to Weight Watchers lost more than twice as much weight when compared with those who received standard care in GP-organised classes.

Another independent study 'Lighten Up' published also last year in the British Medical Journal concluded that community based weight loss programmes were more effective and cheaper than those provided by specially trained health professionals.

Diet plans like WeightWatchers now offer mobile phone apps to help slimmers stay on track when on the move

Diet plans like WeightWatchers now offer mobile phone apps to help slimmers stay on track when on the move

The North Somerset study was overseen by Dr Karen Dixon, a weight specialist who said: 'Patients were offered 12 free weekly sessions at one of three commercial providers: Weight Watchers, Slimming World or Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness Clubs (Rosemary Conley).

'NHS slimming on referral can successfully achieve short-term weight loss. Patients attending Weight Watchers were most likely to lose weight than those attending other providers.'

Zoe Hellman, Head of Public Health at Weight Watchers said: 'This latest paper reinforces what we already know to be true, that there is growing and compelling evidence which shows that partnerships between Weight Watchers and the NHS does work.'

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