NHS funds Weight Watchers classes for thousands in Boston

Weight Watchers classes are helping Bostonians scale down
Weight Watchers classes are helping Bostonians scale down

More than 3,000 people in Boston have benefited from 12-week NHS-funded Weight Watchers courses in a drive to boost the town’s health.

The policy has been hailed a success by Lincolnshire County Council, with 62 per cent of people referred in the county shedding five per cent of their body weight and about 13 percent losing 10 per cent.

The scheme, started in April 2012, helped 2,374 people from Boston in 2013/14 – more than two thirds of the 3,312 total in Lincolnshire. So far this year 894 people from Boston have taken part.

The courses cost £46.23 per person, meaning £109,726 was invested to help people in Boston alone last year.

Coun Patricia Bradwell said the council will continue to commission Weight Watchers – as well as exercise classes – adding: “These weight management options give people the confidence and knowledge to reach and sustain a healthier weight in the longer term.”

Adults with a Body Mass Index of 30 or over can be referred by their GP.

Claire Spence, who runs a group at Rochford Tower Hall, said the scheme had been a success with many staying on after 12 weeks.

She said: “We get a variety of people from men who work the lorries, right down to the young girls who really don’t know how to eat healthy.”

Caroline Baggley, 50, of Winston Gardens, Boston, was 18st 13lb when she was referred to Weight Watchers in March 2013, and after success during the 12-week course, she was spurred on to continue. She has now lost six-and-a-half stone in 14 months – 1lb away from her target.

The community support worker said: “I knew I was far too heavy for what I should be. I was getting a lot of head aches and my blood pressure was quite high.”

The mum-of-three said she feels she now has more energy, adding: “My husband is very proud of me. He said he’s really pleased I stuck with it and got the weight off.”

Government figures show that 69.9 per cent of borough over-16s are overweight or obese, but the picture is improving.

In 2006 Boston had the highest proportion of obese adults in the country but it is now ranked 41st out of 326.