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Follow-up data were available for 658 (88.9%) participants at programme end and 522 (70.5%) at one year. All programmes achieved significant weight loss from baseline to programme end (range 1.37 kg (general practice) to 4.43 kg (Weight Watchers)), and all except general practice and pharmacy provision resulted in significant weight loss at one year. At one year, only the Weight Watchers group had significantly greater weight loss than did the comparator group (2.5 (95% confidence interval 0.8 to 4.2) kg greater loss,). The commercial programmes achieved significantly greater weight loss than did the primary care programmes at programme end (mean difference 2.3 (1.3 to 3.4) kg). The primary care programmes were the most costly to provide. Participants allocated to the choice arm did not have better outcomes than those randomly allocated to a programme.
Is too much of an onus put on GPs to provide advice or to motivate patients to lose weight? Should commercial weight loss programmes be advocated more widely?