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Weight loss training initiative gets boost

Weight loss training initiative gets boost

A West Midlands-based initiative that aims to tackle the obesity epidemic and improve the health of tens of thousands of people across the UK has been given a boost by generous workers.

Social enterprise Innovation in Health and Wellbeing is developing a training scheme it hopes will create hundreds of weight-loss experts to work with obese people in the community.

The initiative is being co-ordinated by Dr Andrew Hartland, a bariatric physician at Walsall Manor Hospital and Manjit Jhooty, managing director of Jhoots Pharmacy. The training scheme is being developed as a partnership and includes: Walsall College, the Local Authority, Job Centre Plus and local Housing Associations.

It has been awarded a donation of &pound500 by staff at employment and training experts Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG) which has offices in Walsall, West Bromwich and throughout Birmingham. The good cause was nominated by PPDG operations director Ken Blyth.

Health problems associated with obesity include heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, limited mobility, sleep apnea and depression, which all impact hugely on people’s lives. Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity.

Dr Hartland said there was a great need for qualified bariatrics advisors across the UK: “We have been delivering a weight management service to encourage people to be lighter and healthier for the past two years, including staging clinics in the community, and we are looking to expand the service outside the Walsall area,” he said.

“There is a lot of provision of services and advice to get people to lose weight provided by organizations that may be Government funded. These include groups such as Slimming World and Weight Watchers, which are publicly funded. GPs can offer patients trials at these organizations through the NHS. However, there is no definition and training for a weight loss advisor at the moment. It is unregulated and not validated. That causes concern because it is difficult to know whether the advice being given is good advice.”

He added: “We are developing a training programme for weight management which is currently going through the stages of being authorized. It will allow people who are interested in providing this service to have formalized training and a recognized qualification. It will also provide assurance for people going to the advisor that they are appropriately qualified.”

Ken Blyth said: “The Innovation in Health and Wellbeing initiative could play a major role in improving the health of people not just in the Walsall area but much further afield too. It will also create opportunities for people to train for a completely new role which could be in great demand as health authorities aim to tackle obesity in the community. We are delighted to provide support for this important training initiative.”

PPDG’s total donations to charities and good causes through its award winning payroll-giving scheme recently broke the &pound150,000 barrier. Around two thirds of employees are involved in payroll deductions that benefit others less fortunate in the community.

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