WiLD: Weight Loss for people with Learning Disabilities

What are the aims of this project?

The aims were to identify where modifications can be made to Slimming World, a private, UK wide, weight management intervention, to make changes to the intervention and to evaluate and further refine the modified intervention in a small feasibility study in order to provide a more equitable service for overweight and obese people with learning disabilities.


Why is this important?

Adults with learning disabilities have a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity than people in the general population. Obesity is known to reduce life expectancy and increase morbidity. Commercial weight management organisations have been shown to be clinically and cost effective for weight management in the general population. However a small body of evidence suggests they are not accessible or acceptable to everyone and it is not known to what extent they are accessible and relevant to people with learning disabilities.


How will the research be carried out?

This qualitative study had two stages: An initial stage used interviews and focus groups to identify where potential modifications could improve acceptability and accessibility of the intervention. The second stage evaluated the modified intervention in a small feasibility study.



March 2014 – February 2016


Who is undertaking the research?

Liz Croot, Melanie Rimmer, Alicia O’ Cathain, Sarah Salway, Janet Harris. Chris Hatton (University of Lancaster), Emma Dowse (Slimming World), Jacquie Lavin (Slimming World)


How are stakeholders being engaged?

A steering group of people with LD contributed to the design and conduct of the study. We worked with people with LD and Slimming World group leaders to identify where modifications were needed and to evaluate the modifications that we made.


What will be the outputs from the study?

We hope that Slimming world will be able to use our recommendations to develop their services for people with learning disabilities.