NHS advocates weight management programmes backed by scientific research

Posted On: 10th September 2020

Last week, the NHS in England announced plans to facilitate access to total diet replacement programmes (TDRs) for thousands of obese and overweight people, as part of the Type II diabetes remission programme. The TDR programme is backed by plenty of scientific research, which demonstrates increasing evidence regarding the efficacy of TDR As a result, TDR programmes are becoming more widely accepted, having been given more credibility as part of  the UK government’s strategy to combat obesity  and related co-morbidities.

TDRs are specifically formulated products which provide all daily dietary needs and are used in place of conventional meals. These food products  are nutritionally balanced with key vitamins, minerals, high quality protein, essential fats, fibre and other nutrients, and when used as TDR are designed to replace all conventional foods to facilitate optimal weight loss. TDRs have been proven to put Type 2 diabetes into remission for some people recently diagnosed with the condition, and will now be provided to 5,000 more patients in 10 areas in England as the first stage in an NHS drive to increase access to this life-changing programme.

Proposed changes in European legislation, however, pose a threat to the availability of TDRs. A Commission Delegated Regulation requiring compositional changes for TDR products is in place to come into effect in October 2022 following publication of an EFSA opinion on TDR composition in 2015. The legislation includes recommendations which could render TDR less palatable and more expensive to make, endangering this hugely important public health initiative. Given the health and economic importance of the recent NHS advocacy of TDR programmes, it is important that any changes in composition are supported by strong evidence. To view a summary of a presentation made last week at the International Congress on Obesity as well as the poster presentation and published abstract describing the technical difficulties , please click here.

Obesity remains one of the UK’s worst public health issues, with over 63% of adults in England either obese or overweight[1]. Moreover, diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS £10 billion a year, while almost one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs is for diabetes treatment[2]. Across Europe obesity rates range from as high as 32% of the adult population, but the UK is in the top 5 countries at 28%. Health-care costs related to obesity and related comorbidities such as diabetes and osteoarthritis are predicted to rise as European populations become older and more obese.

TDMR Europe is the European trade body for manufacturers and distributors of formula diet products, which provide weight loss and weight management programmes for the overweight and obese. Such products and programmes can also be used to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.



[1] https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-obesity-physical-activity-and-diet/england-2020/part-3-adult-obesity-copy

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/diabetes-nhs-prescription-gp-type-2-diet-complications-a8625221.html