Obese people can access NHS assistance through weight-loss applications.

In an effort to combat obesity, the NHS will soon make a number of interventions available by prescription on mobile apps as demand for conventional face-to-face services soars.

Specialists can provide care online by using the four apps—Liva, Oviva, Roczen, and Second Nature—which can be downloaded on a computer or through an app. They will bring together a variety of professionals, including those offering psychological assistance, and have been recommended for use by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in new draft recommendations.

The demand for traditional face-to-face services that treat people who are living with obesity cannot be met, according to Mark Chapman, interim head of medical technology and digital evaluation at Nice.

“Patients need a solution; there are long waiting lists, and certain locations are service-less.

“These four platforms could provide an option for individuals that reside in an area without access to specialist services for weight management or for individuals who are on a waiting list and are content to receive treatment safely outside of a hospital setting to access weight management support.”

Before beginning therapy, patients will undergo a clinical evaluation, according to Nice, and those who are qualified will have a BMI of 35 or more and at least one illness (diabetes or high blood pressure are both weight-related diseases).

Along with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise, some of the platforms also allow for the prescription of weight-loss injections like semaglutide or liraglutide, which are marketed under the brand names Wegovy and Saxenda, respectively.

Wegovy could cut the risk of heart attacks or strokes in obese people with cardiovascular disease by 20%, according to five-year research by the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

Despite not having yet been released in the UK, Wegovy was suggested by Nice in March “as an option for weight management” for some patients.

According to a Health Survey for England published by NHS Digital in 2021, obese adults made up 25.9% of the adult population in England, with an additional 37.9% being overweight.

According to Nice, the new virtual services would be available to up to 48,000 people, and if every person who qualified signed up, it would save 145,000 hours of clinician time.

Steve Barclay, the health minister, stated that “technology is transforming healthcare” and assisting the NHS in reducing waiting times, which had risen to a record 7.6 million.

“The use of apps in weight management programs will enhance access to support that, along with life-changing drugs, will help tackle obesity,” the speaker added. “Obesity costs the NHS billions of pounds every year and is the second largest cause of cancer.

“The newest obesity medications have the potential to help patients lose significant amounts of weight and reduce related conditions, but it’s vital that they are used alongside diet, physical activity, and wider behavioural support to help stop people from gaining weight,” says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Centre for Obesity Research.

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