Diabetes WA has received funding from the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) and the WA Department of Health to pilot an obesity intervention program that pilots a supported total meal replacement program in the primary care setting.
“Supported Weight Management Using Total Meal Replacement is a viable weight loss option that is not currently available for people with overweight and obesity within the WA health system”, according to Diabetes WA senior manager Sophie McGough.
“Western Australians who are overweight or obese need to be supported to make an informed choice about the evidence-based options available and should have access to all forms of support for weight loss,” Ms McGough says.
The pilot program is currently underway with patients from three general practices located in Perth’s southern suburbs. These practices have recruited 50 Western Australians with a BMI greater than 30, or if they have an existing health-related condition, a BMI greater than 27.
Participants will follow the Supported Total Meal Replacement regime for eight weeks while being provided with support from their GP and via telehealth with a Diabetes WA’s multidisciplinary team of health professionals who will listen to their stories, provide clinical support and cheer them on for six months.
Participants will also have access to a locally developed behavioural and weight maintenance app which includes a virtual peer support community.
The health professionals involved in the project will also be trained to expand their confidence and knowledge in having respectful and empowering conversations about weight, and the medical management required during a Supported Weight Management Using Total Meal Replacement program to give people the best chance of success.
Clinical trials in the UK have shown that Total Meal Replacement diets can produce twice the amount of fat and weight loss in half the time than diets based on healthy eating.
With the addition of behavioural support strategies from GPs and a healthcare team, Total Meal Replacement diets (also called very-low-calorie diets) have also been shown to better sustain the achieved weight loss between one to three years later compared to food-based diets.
WAPHA Chief Executive Learne Durrington says the initiative carries the exciting potential to be part of a longer-term solution to overweight and obesity embedded in general practice.
“We are delighted to co-fund this promising pilot, partnering with Diabetes WA and the Department of Health as part of the WA Healthy Weight Action Plan implementation,” she says.
“Being overweight or obese has a profound impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing, as well as being a significant cost to our health system. This problem requires us to explore a variety of measures to ensure people can find a solution that works for them.
More information and updates on the Supported Weight Management Using Total Meal Pilot Program will be published in the coming months.
Diabetes WA would like to acknowledge KicStart™ very low calorie diet has been provided by Prima Health Solutions Pty Ltd as an in-kind grant to support the pilot. Prima is not involved in the design, implementation or analysis of the pilot.