The UK government launched its Better Health initiative on 27th July with the ambitious aim of getting millions of people into better shape, in turn reducing their risk of developing serious diseases – and if they contract COVID-19, of experiencing more acute symptoms.
Bike vouchers, bikes via NHS prescription and new restrictions on advertising junk food may have grabbed headlines, but one practical tool has flown under the radar: the new NHS Weight Loss Plan app.
The app is free, contains a 12-week plan to help you lose weight and is invitingly simple. It helps you calculate your healthy weight range using your BMI and then advises how many calories you should be eating each day to get you to that weight. There are charts to help you keep tabs on your weight over time, as well as your calories and your activity levels, along with motivational advice and tips to help you stay on track.
There are many weight-loss apps out there that can do a similar job of helping you to work through a programme and build healthy habits for the long term, but they tend to be quite expensive. The simplicity of the NHS Weight Loss Plan app is almost as appealing as its price.
We’d certainly recommend giving it a try if you are looking to lose weight, or even just want to double-check your BMI and see if you’re categorised as overweight. It’s also worth taking advantage of other free NHS tools that can help on this front, like the Couch to 5K programme, which has helped thousands of people build up to running their first 5K.
On the NHS Better Health website you can also check your risk of type 2 diabetes and find out if you are eligible for the free Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (England only). This programme will help you make changes to your lifestyle to make it healthier through one-on-one assistance and group support, the latter of which has been shown to be especially effective at helping people sustain healthy changes.