University of Hull

Personalised health advice to tackle obesity

With seven in 10 adults classified as overweight or obese, the East Riding of Yorkshire has one of the highest rates of obesity in the UK. The University of Hull is helping to tackle this issue through an innovative project designed to enable people to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Dr Caroline Douglas and Dr Samantha Nabb, in partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Public Health, are shaping Live Well, a flagship programme which provides 26-weeks of personalised exercise, nutrition and motivational support for individuals with a BMI of 45 and over. GPs can make appointments for patients at the local leisure centre with a trainer who will tailor a programme to suit them.

Results show Live Well is helping to transform lives with participants increasing their daily fruit and vegetable intake, reducing sugary drinks and eating less foods high in salt, fat and sugar within just six months. 84% of people completing the programme have lost weight and lowered their blood pressure and resting heart rate. With one in three people taking out a leisure centre membership once their programme finished, the strength of Live Well in helping people commit to lifestyle change is clear.

Dr Douglas said: “The success of this personalised approach to lifestyle change has had an amazing impact on people who report many wonderful benefits, including increased happiness, self-esteem, friendship and higher energy levels. One great example is of a father who became fit enough to walk his daughter down the aisle without being out of breath.”

The research team is supported by three postgraduate students who focus on streamlining the GP referral process for participants; providing Live Well trainers with information and support; and the development of a tailored version of the Live Well programme for 11-18 year olds.