The solution to childhood obesity lies in whole family approach

“Controversy raging over whether parents should be told that their child is overweight is distracting attention from the real issue,” says Dr James Stubbs, a leading obesity expert and researcher.

Speaking in response to criticism by the Public Accounts Committee of government initiatives which are failing to address childhood obesity Dr Stubbs, a researcher at Slimming World (the UK’s leading slimming organisation) said: “Ongoing research among our members shows that changing eating habits is a crucial first step to adopting a healthier lifestyle. And our members who are successful at losing weight influence their whole families to eat more healthily.

“Nearly half of obese children have overweight or obese parents who themselves need support and practical healthy eating and lifestyle advice, so merely telling them that their children are overweight will do little to help address childhood obesity,” he says. “The solution is in a whole family approach.”

The key to Slimming World’s successful approach lies in its unique group support where members share their experiences and are empowered to change their lifestyle.

A recent study by Slimming World found that 80% of those following Slimming World’s eating plans with group support reported significant improvements in their own health and two thirds of the participants in the study who provided food for the family reported that they now eat more healthily as a family.

“This study is important because recent evidence from the United States suggests that the mother is the key person for health messages within the family. As 93% of Slimming World members are adult women this is a powerful way of reaching the whole family with healthy lifestyle messages,” adds Dr Stubbs.   - ends -

Notes for Editors: Background on Slimming World Family Affair

  • Slimming World has published a report on the Influence of Slimming World’s lifestyle programme on the diet, activity, behaviour and health of participants and their family. For copies of the report please contact Jenny Caven via email:
  • Adolescents aged 11 to 15 are exempt from joining fees and weekly fees at Slimming World if they are accompanied by a fee-paying parent or guardian, who is responsible for most of their meals. Where the parent does not wish to become a member in their own right, they pay a special reduced fee to receive the same help and support for their family. Slimming World is not able to offer a service for children under 11. 
  • Parents or guardians who would like their 11-15 year old to attend Slimming World should ask for a note of approval from their doctor. As many GPs charge for this service Slimming World provides a pro forma letter for the GP to sign. Slimming World Consultants will not suggest weight changes or target weights for an 11-15 year old, but will take advice from the child's GP or other health carer.
  • Slimming World is the largest and most advanced slimming organisation in the UK.  Margaret Miles-Bramwell founded the company in 1969 and there are now over 5,500 groups held weekly on a nationwide basis via a network of 2,500 Slimming World trained Consultants.
  • Slimming World has pioneered Slimming on Referral in the UK and actively supports the building of partnerships with the NHS to develop effective strategies to manage overweight and obesity in the community. Working with university researchers and specialists in obesity, Slimming World also supports an active research programme to further knowledge of its causes and treatment.
  • Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food OptimisingÒ, and the principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people. Slimming World integrates practical, up-to-date dietary advice with a highly developed support system.
  • Free2Go is a new option to free up Food Optimising for adolescents allowing unlimited Free Food and Healthy Extras and alternative options for managing Syns.
  • Slimming World Consultants receive specific training in dietary aspects of weight management, the role of physical activity in weight control and highly developed training in facilitating behaviour change in a group environment, acknowledged by experts and supported by research as being the most effective way to support change for weight management.
  • Slimming World is the only organisation in the UK to provide support to pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers, with a policy developed with the Royal College of Midwives.
  • Slimming World has an increasing number of men attending groups, on average around 9,000 each month. Slimming World currently has 50 male Consultants and ten men-only groups. 
  • In March 2004 and 2005, Slimming World was named amongst the ‘Top 10’ Best Small Companies to Work for in the UK by The Sunday Times.

For further information about Slimming World and to find details of your nearest group, visit or contact 08700 745666.

For more information about this press release or about Slimming World please contact Jenny Caven on t: 01773 546037, m: 07795 445004 or email:

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