Weight-watching club proves a winner

A physiotherapy-led scheme to help people with learning disabilities live more healthily has won first prize at the National Obesity Forum’s Primary Care Awards for Excellence in Weight Management.

The Watching Our Weight Club, based in Morecambe, Lancashire, came top of the community category. The 12-month pilot was developed by physiotherapist Jeff Bartley and funded by North Lancashire primary care trust. The club is based on research that shows that people with learning disabilities have a higher incidence of obesity and inactivity and face more challenges with these issues than the general population. Dr Bartley formed a team of community health workers, including nurses, therapists and support workers, to set up the project. The club’s 12 members, including Ruth Dobson and Amanda Scott pictured below, meet monthly for weigh-ins and practical sessions on nutrition and exercise. Dr Bartley said: ‘Very little has been done in this field for people with learning disabilities and yet they face more barriers than most in achieving healthier and more active lives. ‘Their complex needs and challenging behaviours mean they are unable to access mainstream weight management clubs, which are not pitched at their level. WOW Club aims to address this inequality and is designed specifically to meet its members’ communication, cognitive and social support needs.’
Louise Hunt

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