Weight Watchers Health Solutions services – Information for commissioners and health professionals

Weight Watchers provides a range of healthy weight management services for Public Health and the NHS; proven to be an effective, scalable and value for money partnership model, one that people are highly satisfied with and is simple to commission and implement.
The Weight Watchers Referral Scheme

The benefits of working in partnership with Weight Watchers to tackle unhealthy weight in your area:

  • Capacity building; instant access to an already established service that is currently running across your local area
  • A trusted partner; we have a 50 year successful track record of delivering multi-component weight management services and over 8 years of working in partnership with health services
  • A low risk solution; we have an evidence-based, proven approach which is constantly refined and compliant with data governance and NICE 43 (2006) and SIGN 115 best practice guidance
  • Services that work; a growing body of evidence demonstrates that Weight Watchers delivers effective and sustained outcomes
  • Value for money; there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Weight Watchers services are ready and able to integrate with your local pathways and providers

What does Weight Watchers offer?

Weight Watchers is a multi-component lifestyle weight management approach designed for adults who are overweight and obese. The programme aims to change behaviours to reduce energy intake through healthy eating and increase physical activity. Principally delivered through group meetings with additional online and mobile tools, our approach helps people to make sustainable changes to their lifestyle behaviours. The meetings take place throughout the week in accessible community venues (such as community centres, schools, leisure centres and libraries). Meetings can also be set up in GP practices, GP practice locations and Public Health areas specifically for local clients groups. Over 1,800 trained, employed community ‘Leaders’ deliver 6,000 meetings each week across the UK. These trained role models facilitate peer to peer group support and offer support throughout the week, with a clinically proven, centrally produced weight loss programme, stewarded by credentialed weight loss experts registered with the HCPC. This local community based, peer led methodology is underpinned by robust governance and QA structures, conforming to national and local policy and guidance, ensuring data security and health protection.

Proven to be both effective and cost effective.

Click on the library links to download simple to read infographics of the published outcomes of the partnership between Weight Watchers and health professionals

Offering local populations lifestyle weight management services is critical to reducing excess weight.

The evidence base demonstrates that specific services are recommended, in order to deliver tangible outcomes. Regular support is important; weekly group meetings are a popular form of support and meeting attendance has been proven to be a success factor. In a prospective, two-year clinical trial that randomly assigned participants to either a lifestyle weight management programme or a ‘self-help’ method, those who were assigned to the programme lost and kept off significantly more weight. Moreover, there was a direct connection between the attendance at meetings and weight-loss results (Heshka et al 2003). The importance of supporting people to lose weight via a structured service, is further corroborated by a randomised controlled trial comparing the Weight Watchers approach to a self-help approach. At 6 months, the average weight loss in the Weight Watchers group was 4.6 kg compared with 2.9 kg in the self-help group. Those in the Weight Watchers group were 8.0 times more likely to achieve a 5% reduction in initial weight (Johnston et al 2013).

The best weight management results seem to occur when healthcare professionals diagnose obesity and then refer their patients on to group based lifestyle weight management providers in the community.

The published data suggests that when healthcare professionals and lifestyle weight management providers work together, in partnerships, initial and sustained weight loss can be significantly greater than healthcare professional interventions on their own. Please click on the links below for information on this research.

Weight management services provided via community based groups run by trained lay people have been found to be more effective and cheaper than a range of other services commonly used in health services, such as 1:1s by specially trained healthcare professionals or vouchers to attend a local leisure centre.

Scalable and Sustainable

Weight Watchers services for Public Health and the NHS have been proven time and time again to deliver effective outcomes for local populations. An independent audit of almost 30,000 clients, who were referred from 74 different primary care organisations, demonstrated consistent outcomes; with 58% completing 100% of their programmes, losing an average of 3.3% and 5.5% of initial weight (for all referrals and completers respectively, Ahern et al 2011). Further evidence demonstrates that changes towards healthier behaviours and a healthier weight status are sustained in the long term.

  • Download the Weight Watchers Referral Scheme Brochure
  • Or email referral@weight-watchers.co.uk Weight Watchers delivers a flexible service in collaboration with local commissioners and health professionals. How local areas wish to tap into our expertise and established services is up to you; we are always keen to discuss local priorities and find solutions to best fit. Please give us a call or email and we’d be delighted to informally discuss your local needs for reducing unhealthy weight in your population’



  1. Ahern, A L et al (2011) Weight Watchers on prescription: An observational study of weight change among adults referred to Weight Watchers by the NHS. BMC Public Health, 11:434.
  2. Heshka, S et al (2003) Weight loss with self-help compared with a structured commercial programme: a randomized trial, JAMA; 289, 1792-1798.
  3. Johnston, CA et. al (2013) A randomized controlled trial of a community-based behavioral counseling program. The American Journal of Medicine, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.04.025
  4. National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (2006) Obesity: The prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children. NICE: London.
  5. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network Guideline 115 (2010) Management of Obesity. A national clinical guideline.