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Patients referred to a commercial weight management programme by their GP lost significantly more weight than those receiving usual NHS care

Emma Luff before weight loss

A MAJOR new trial has proven that people who are overweight and obese lost significantly more weight when referred by their doctor to a total diet replacement (TDR) programme provided by Cambridge Weight Plan (CWP), rather than the usual NHS care route.

The DROPLET trial (Doctor Referral of Overweight People to Low Energy Treatment) recruited 278 adults with a BMI of more than 30. The trial was run by Professor Susan Jebb, Professor Paul Aveyard & Dr Nerys Astbury at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford.

Patients were randomly assigned to receive either usual care (UC) or referred to a total diet replacement programme. UC consisted of weight management advice and support from a practice nurse.

The TDR programme was provided by CWP. It consisted of replacing usual foods with CWP formula food products which provided approximately 810 kcal per day for eight weeks, followed by a carefully managed stepped four-week food re-introduction. After that, patients were offered one CWP product a day for 24 weeks to help manage their weight.

People who were randomly assigned to the CWP programme were all given weekly one-to-one support, focussing on goal-setting and feedback, problem-solving, encouragement and reassurance, and preparation for weight maintenance, by a CWP Consultant. This support was weekly for the first 12 weeks and then monthly up to 24 weeks.

The results from DROPLET showed that after 12 months participants lost an average of 10.7kg (one-and-a-half stone) if they followed the CWP programme. Those following usual care for the same period lost on average 3.1kg (half a stone). Three quarters (73%) of people offered the CWP programme were at least 5% lighter after 1 year, compared only a third (32%) of people who received usual NHS care.
Professor Anthony Leeds, Medical Director of Cambridge Weight Plan, said the DROPLET results were very encouraging.

He said: “The DROPLET trial shows that this type of weight loss, which could transform how we look after people who are obese, can be delivered safely and successfully in a community setting in collaboration with GPs and practice nurses.

“We know from other similar studies that treating obesity in this way can help many people to come off medications for diabetes, helping to limit NHS costs immediately. Losing weight may also help prevent or delay the onset of heart disease and diabetes. I believe that a state health service mindful of burgeoning costs caused by diabetes and other obesity-related conditions should embrace this immediately.”

Professor Leeds added that CWP has a portfolio of evidence showing that TDRs – where conventional food is replaced with formula soups, shakes, bars and other products – can deliver larger weight losses of one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half stone with good weight maintenance, in some people.

He said: “Some individuals are transformed almost beyond imagination by large weight losses and improved quality of health.

“These larger than usual weight losses are highly motivating for heavy people . . . they often feel better after just a week or so. They may sleep better, move more easily, and have less joint pain. In fact, we have some evidence that quality of life is better after a one to two stone weight loss.”

Chris McDermott, Managing Director of Corby-based Cambridge Weight Plan, said the DROPLET trial proves CWP products, combined with the unique one-to-one support offered by CWP consultants, is a very successful method of weight loss.

He said: “We knew from our own commercial experience that our product, programme and people were very effective in helping patients lose and then maintain their weight. But what we didn’t have was robust, independent, clinical evidence of that success within a primary care environment. Droplet now gives us that proof and I hope GPs will take notice of the success the patients experienced in the study, and will now consider CWP a serious tool in their armoury for combating overweight and obesity.”

Cambridge Weight Plan consultant Gemma Cottingham, from Banbury in Oxfordshire, saw some of the patients from the DROPLET trial. “It was fantastic,” said Gemma. “I looked after them as I would every other client I see.

“I am hoping the success of the Droplet trial will encourage more GPs to refer their overweight patients to a CWP Consultant as the results show it really does work.”

For more information and/or to set up interviews, contact Ruth Supple, PR & Events Manager, at Cambridge Weight Plan on 01536 403344 ext 230 or 07894 411952 or email