New NHS certified digital weight management service available free to people in West Sussex

New NHS certified digital weight management service available free to people in West Sussex

A new free digital weight management service is being offered by West Sussex County Council to people who live or work in the county.

The programme, which is free to those who meet the criteria, aims to support people to lose weight and maintain their health. People will be given help to sustain healthy habits and achieve self-selected goals through access to education, recipes, on-demand exercise classes, group and one-to-one coaching.

The Council’s Public Health department is funding access to the ‘Gro Health’ app in response to growing numbers of people who are overweight or obese, in addition to a range of existing funded weight management services available via West Sussex Wellbeing and the NHS.

Gro Health will offer an additional local programme for those wanting access to free digital support who do not qualify for the NHS digital weight management offer. The number of adults who are overweight or obese in West Sussex has increased from 61.6 per cent in 2019/20 to 63.8 per cent in 2020/21 and 23.3 per cent were classified as being obese.

Gro Health has been developed by a leading team of behavioural change and clinical experts to provide holistic health support and maintenance of healthy habits.

The platform provides tailored health programmes and support covering the four therapeutic areas of activity, mental wellbeing, nutrition and sleep

Gro Health can be accessed online using a phone, tablet or computer, without the need to download any special software. The service can also be accessed via free apps available for both iPhone and Android for those who wish to download them.

It is the first time that people in West Sussex have been offered free access to such an innovative digital service for weight management without a GP referral.

Bob Lanzer, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at West Sussex County Council, said: “We are excited to be offering this clinically proven, free weight management app at a time of year when many people decide they want to make changes to improve their health and wellbeing. As the programme provides personalised support for up to 12 months and is available in 19 languages, we can help support more people across West Sussex to lose weight and maintain their health in the longer term.

“It is central to the commitment outlined in Our Council Plan for us to help people maintain and improve their health and wellbeing through advice and support.

Michaela de la Fosse, Operations Manager at DDM Health, providers of the Gro Health app said: “The service has been co-developed with local clinicians and residents to support their journey to a healthy weight and improve their mental health – I can’t wait to see the impact of our programme to the residents of West Sussex.”

Gro Health has been shown to support people to lose weight, improve their mental health, reduce medications and even reverse conditions such as prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

In one study, on average, people completing the programme report an average weight loss of 6.9kg, or 6.5% of their starting weight.[1]

In another study, after 12 weeks’ of app use, people using the app reduce their stress levels by 23% and anxiety levels by 31%.[2]

People can check their eligibility and access the Gro Health service through the Gro Health website.

[1] Saslow L, Summers C, Aikens J, Unwin D. Outcomes of a Digitally Delivered Low-Carbohydrate Type 2 Diabetes Self-Management Program: 1-Year Results of a Single-Arm Longitudinal Study. JMIR Diabetes 2018;3(3):e12

[2] Summers C, Wu P, Taylor A. Supporting Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic Using a Digital Behavior Change Intervention: An Open-Label, Single-Arm, Pre-Post Intervention Study JMIR Form Res 2021;5(10): e31273

Author: Philip Lopez