Oxford University: doctor referral to a TDR program is cost‐effective for the routine treatment of obesity

Posted On: 25th February 2019

The University of Oxford has published a paper into the cost-effectiveness of low calorie meal replacements for the treatment of obesity in the NHS, which concludes that replacing all regular meals with a low calorie diet of soups, shakes and bars, together with behavioural support, is cost-effective as a routine treatment for obesity. Welcoming the publication of the study, Professor Anthony Leeds, Chairman of TDMR Europe said:

“We very much welcome the results of this study. Health care costs are higher among older and heavier people so it is not a surprise to find that GP referral to a Total Diet Replacement (TDR) programme delivered in the community is most cost effective among those over 50 years and those with a BMI over 35. This fits with the typical age and weight of people with Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and other obesity-related co-morbidities.”

“Total Diet Replacement weight loss programmes should now be offered to people with recently diagnosed Type 2 diabetes based on the DiRECT diabetes remission trial, and to the elderly with osteoarthritis based on Danish studies which have shown pain reduction and 10% weight loss and maintenance for four years in TDR users. Quality of life is improved and there are reductions in use of medications – including those for high blood pressure because TDR lowers blood pressure.”

The paper, by Seamus Kent and colleagues at the Nuffield Departments of Population Health and Primary Care Sciences, University of Oxford, used the data from the recently published DROPLET randomised controlled trial set in primary care centres around Oxford in which GPs randomly allocated patients to either a TDR programme delivered commercially in the community by Cambridge Weight Plan Consultants, or to usual care, delivering the best possible weight loss with conventional guidance from the practice nurses.