Next review: 2017

The guideline replaces section 1.1.7 of obesity prevention NICE guideline CG43 (2006).

This guideline makes recommendations on the provision of effective multi-component lifestyle weight management services for adults who are overweight or obese (aged 18 and over). It covers weight management programmes, courses, clubs or groups that aim to change someone’s behaviour to reduce their energy intake and encourage them to be physically active.

The aim is to help meet a range of public health goals. These include helping reduce the risk of the main diseases associated with obesity, for example: coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes and various cancers (endometrial, breast, kidney and colon).

The focus is on lifestyle weight management programmes that:

  • accept self-referrals or referrals from health or social care practitioners
  • are provided by the public, private or voluntary sector
  • are based in the community, workplaces, primary care or online.

Usually known as ‘tier 2’ services (see Tiers of weight management services), these programmes are just 1 part of a comprehensive approach to preventing and treating obesity. Clinical judgement will be needed to determine whether they are suitable for people with conditions that increase the risk of, or are associated with, obesity or who have complex needs.

The guideline is for commissioners, health professionals and providers of lifestyle weight management programmes. (For further details, see Who should take action?) The guideline may also be of interest to overweight and obese adults, their families and other members of the public.

This guideline was previously called managing overweight and obesity in adults - lifestyle weight management services.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) accreditation logo