NEARLY 1,800 severely overweight adults and children in South Yorkshire have been helped by a specialist obesity project – and lost more than 6,000 kilos in 17 months.
The Rotherham Institute for Obesity has helped 1,600 adults and nearly 200 children – some just eight – since it opened in November 2009.
Those receiving the specialist treatment have lost a total of 6,100kg, around 1,017 stone, or an average weight loss per person of 3.4kg or 7.5lbs.
Adults referred there must have a BMI of 40 or over – or 30 or over with increased risks such as living with diabetes. A normal BMI for a healthy adult is between 18.5 and 24.9.
The cost of the contract for the service is £517,000 per year for three years.
The institute, based at the Clifton Lane Medical Centre, has worked mainly with children aged eight to 17 and adults who have tried alternative community weight loss programmes and projects.
It provides psychological support and people work with exercise therapists and dieticians and prescribing weight loss drugs to create an intensive programme to help and support people to lose weight.
RIO is just one strand of the £3.5m Healthy Weight Framework introduced by NHS Rotherham in 2009 to tackle obesity in the town where two-thirds of adults are obese.
Other elements include the Reshape Rotherham community weight management scheme – made up of 10 weekly, hour-long sessions to help people make long-term changes towards a healthier diet and lifestyle delivered at community venues – and Carnegie weight loss clubs and camps.
The clubs, which aim to make exercise fun again for children and also teach about how to make health food choices, are run at DC Leisure venues in the area, while the residential camps take place in Leeds during the summer holidays.
Joanna Saunders, head of health improvement at NHS Rotherham, said they were pleased with the achievements at the institute in its first 18 months.
She said: “The clients who go to RIO will have to fulfil certain criteria. They will have tried community programmes but they need a more intensive intervention.
“It is a new, innovative service so there is not much to compare it to at the moment, but we are pleased with the number of people coming through the service so far and the results they have achieved.
“There are a whole range of things that need to be used to tackle the fact that two thirds of adults in Rotherham are obese. At RIO we obviously invested in treating people who are already at that stage, but other community work has to focus on prevention, teaching things like healthy eating and cooking skills.”