The Effectiveness of Non-Surgical Weight Management Interventions for Obesity in the UK: A Review and Meta-Regression Analysis


Background: Obesity is regarded as one of the most serious challenges public health faces in the 21st century for adults and children alike. Accordingly weight management interventions remain a public health priority aiming to reduce the burden of obesity and co-morbidities. Therefore this review aims to assess the effectiveness of non-surgical weight management interventions for obesity in the UK. Method: Thirty one databases were searched that identified 20 articles for inclusion. Articles were screened and quality scored using the “Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool”. Meta-regression analysis (MRA) was undertaken on seven studies that allowed for effect size calculations. Results: In adult populations, lifestyle interventions that targeted both diet and physical activity, delivered in the private sector were most effective in reducing weight and/or BMI, and were more cost-effective. In children the most successful interventions mirrored adult interventions, but were family-orientated. MRA supported these findings. Most frequent intervention duration was 12 weeks. Discussion: The results provide evidence to support policy makers for the effective delivery of weight management interventions. Findings suggest that weight management interventions in the UK are effective in reducing weight and/or BMI for both children and adults. Interventions delivered in the private sector (e.g. Weight Watchers), targeting diet and physical activity levels, demonstrated the highest levels of effectiveness. However, compared to these models, NHS programmes are less well defined in the research literature and may not have been optimised. For children, effectiveness is improved by family-level programmes incorporating children and their parents.

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Randall, J. , Slater, M. , Stewart, A. , Pugh, G. , Lewis, K. , Levy, C. and Alessandri-Gray, P. (2014) The Effectiveness of Non-Surgical Weight Management Interventions for Obesity in the UK: A Review and Meta-Regression Analysis. Open Journal of Medical Psychology, 3, 235-249. doi: 10.4236/ojmp.2014.33025.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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