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Tackling obesity levels among young people

Slimming World | Slimming World

4 min read Partner content

Slimming World groups across the UK and Ireland are slimming down their fee for young people who want to manage their weight and learn how to live a healthier life in a caring and supportive group environment.

From August 12th 2013 the UK’s largest independent weight loss organisation is introducing a reduced price for 16 and 17 year old members who go along to one of their groups to get support by learning about healthy eating and becoming more active. They will pay £3.95 (€7.50 in RoI) a week instead of the standard fee of £4.95 (€9 in RoI).

The reduced price for 16 and 17 year olds comes as changes by the Government, which see young people remaining in full time education or training until 18, take effect. Slimming World already offers free membership to 11 to 15 year olds who go to a group with a parent or guardian and have the support of their GP or school nurse.

Obesity levels among young people continue to climb and the Department of Health has warned that unless action is taken to prevent child obesity, 90% of young people will be overweight or obese by 2050.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s Head of Nutrition and Research, says: “Obesity doesn’t just affect adults, it’s a problem for people of all ages, and we’re seeing more and more young people struggling with their weight. Some are so severely overweight that it’s affecting their mental wellbeing and physical health. Many are victims of bullying including cyber bullying, and more young people are being diagnosed with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure that used to affect people much later in life – people their grandparents’ age. Being overweight has a huge impact on their self-esteem and confidence too. That’s why it’s so very important that they get responsible support to manage their weight healthily, so they enjoy good health and feel positive and confident as they become adults.

“Our teenage years are an important age as that’s when we start to become more responsible for our own eating habits and lots of young people become less active as they finish high school education too. Often it’s a time of huge emotional and psychological as well as physical change. After 44 years of helping people to lose weight and lead happier, healthier lifestyles, we understand that weight management is as much about psychology and deep-rooted emotions as it is about healthy eating and being more active. Many of our members tell us that it’s during their teens that they gained weight, often because of comfort eating and low self-esteem. And today’s modern environment, with fast food available 24/7, makes it even more difficult to get to and maintain a healthy weight.

“What we don’t do at Slimming World is lecture or tell people what to do or what to eat. What we do instead is equip members with the skills to make healthy choices that fit with their lives and help them to lose weight and keep it off.”

Callum Jessop, 17, from County Durham, joined Slimming World in July 2012 and has since lost 6st 11½lb. He says: “I’ve always been bigger. I remember being really embarrassed on a school trip when I was too heavy to go on a zip wire, I pretended I’d chickened out and had to sit out and watch while everyone else in my group took part. But it was after my year eleven prom that I joined Slimming World. Looking at the photos I felt terrible about how I looked so my grandma suggested we go to Slimming World together. I was really nervous when I first joined the group because I thought everyone would be older than me and that people might judge me for needing help to lose weight at such a young age. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, everyone made me feel welcome and the other members have been so supportive.”

The A-level student adds: “Since losing weight I feel a lot more confident, so confident that I played the lead role in my school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof – before I’d never have had the confidence to audition for the role or the stamina to do a three-hour show each night. I don’t feel out of place with my friends and at parties now either. I’d encourage any young people who are worried about their weight to join a group, everyone was so supportive and understanding with me and joining Slimming World was the best thing I ever did.”

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