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The implementation of the Counterweight Programme in Scotland, UK.

Counterweight Project Team


Counterweight Project Team


The Counterweight Programme is a proven model for the management of obesity in the UK, evaluated over 5 years (2000–05) and demonstrating clinical and cost effectiveness. The Scottish Government commissioned three phases of Counterweight implementation during the period 2006–08. The first two phases linked the Counterweight Programme to a primary care cardiovascular disease prevention programme; the third phase was commissioned independent of other interventions. The aim of this study was to assess the implementation of the Counterweight Programme in 13 Health Boards in Scotland and compare 12-month outcomes with published Counterweight data. Patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2 or BMI greater than or equal to 28 kg/m2, and with at least one co-morbidity, were screened for the Counterweight Programme. Patients were asked to attend nine structured appointments with a trained Counterweight Programme practitioner over 12 months. 6,715 patients from 184 general practices, 16 pharmacies and one centralized community-based service in 13 Health Boards, with a mean BMI of 37 kg/m2 were enrolled in the Counterweight Programme. Twenty-six per cent had a BMI greater than or equal to 40 kg/m2. Attendance for patients at 3, 6 and 12 months follow-up was 55%, 37% and 28%. Of those who attended at 12 months, 35.2% had maintained a weight loss of greater than or equal to 5% compared to 30.7% in the original evaluation. Evaluation of the Counterweight Programme in Scotland demonstrated consistency in characteristics of patients enrolled into the programme. There was evidence of higher loss to follow-up in a population not routinely engaging with primary care but evidence of greater weight losses among those who attended.


COUNTERWEIGHT PROJECT TEAM, 2012. The implementation of the Counterweight Programme in Scotland, UK. Family practice, 29(Supplement 1), pages i139-i144. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 10, 2011
Online Publication Date Mar 7, 2012
Publication Date Apr 1, 2012
Deposit Date Apr 12, 2013
Publicly Available Date Apr 12, 2013
Journal Family practice
Print ISSN 0263-2136
Electronic ISSN 1460-2229
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue Supplement 1
Pages i139-i144
Keywords Attendance; Obesity; Primary care; Weight management; Translational research
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