More than half of people struggled to manage their weight during COVID-19 lockdown, suggests UK survey

The authors point to several limitations, including the reduced sample size of those who had completed all surveys to the point of lockdown* and the inclusion of self-reported data which could be prone to reporting biases. The study included a representative sample of the general population at each timepoint, rather than following the same people, therefore it was difficult to make certain comparisons over time. The authors also noted that there could be variations in behaviour and wellbeing depending upon when respondents completed the survey, given the rapidly changing news and guidance during lockdown. They also note that they did not account for potentially confounding factors such as comorbidities, which may have influenced lifestyle behaviour changes.

Notes to editors:

The research was conducted by Slimming World.

[1] The general population average weight was 82.3kg at the start of the study (n=1515), 81.2kg 3-months later (n=1396), and 80.7kg 6-months later (n=637). The general population was a new sample at each timepoint, whereas the Slimming World sample was the same people followed over time.

Baseline survey (within 0-4 weeks of joining; Oct/Nov 2019)

Survey 3-months later (Jan/Feb 2020)

Survey 6-months later (April/May 2020 during lockdown in U.K.)

Average Weight of the 222 members (kg)




% weight change since baseline




*Significantly different than baseline (p<0.001) ^Significantly different than 3-months (p<0.001)

Slimming World is a proud partner in Public Health England’s Better Health initiative, a campaign that provides an opportunity for the nation to reset and introduce healthy lifestyle changes

*While 1884 Slimming World members were polled at baseline, the sample size is based on the 222 respondents who completed all 3 surveys to-date

This press release is based on a poster presentation at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECO-ICO). All accepted abstracts have been extensively peer reviewed by the congress selection committee. There is no full paper at this stage, but the authors are happy to answer your questions. The research has been submitted to a medical journal for publication. 

About Slimming World 

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. Members join local weekly groups or an online programme. Groups are run by a network of community-based Slimming World Consultants across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Consultants are trained in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as recognised behaviour-change techniques. Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density and satiety. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating, encouraging and empowering members to make changes in a supportive, warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the NHS. Following the suspension of weekly groups as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Slimming World launched a temporary virtual service. It is now reopening its real-life groups step-by-step, where guidance and venues allow.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit Follow Slimming World on Twitter at or become a Slimming World fan on Facebook at

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