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Obesity and Diets

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they provide information to overweight and obese National Health Service patients on the use of proven effective commercial diets; and [HL7003]

Whether meal replacements for weight control, as regulated in the Foods Intended for Use in Energy Restricted Diets for Weight Reduction Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/2182), will be included in the obesity guidance currently under review by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; and [HL7004]

Whether they have examined the comparative costs of effective weight-management systems including commercial diets; and, if so, whether the results have been taken into account in developing guidelines for healthcare professionals.[HL7005]

The Government have not examined the comparative costs of commercial diets and do not provide information on these diets to obese National Health Service patients. However, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence draft guidance on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of obesity in adults and children states that there is moderate evidence that a multi-component commercial group programme may be more effective than a standard self-help programme. There is also no strong evidence to support the use of meal replacement products over a standard low-calorie diet.