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Waist of money: UK adults spend £20,000 on weight loss tactics over a lifetime

13th December 2021 by Charlotte Walker

The average UK adult will spend more than £20,000 trying to lose weight and get healthy over the course of their life, with the majority resorting to fad diet trends such as slimming pills and low-fat foods, according to new research from not-for-profit healthcare provider, Benenden Health.

A survey of 1,000 adults across the UK found that on average, individuals spend £331 each year on weight loss tactics and health initiatives, including slimming club memberships, weight loss books and slimming pills, equating to billions spent on often unsustainable products nationwide.

The research showed the majority of people turn to quick diet trends or products as opposed to long-term lifestyle changes, with one in six (16%) saying they had taken up a slimming club membership, the same (16%) having bought slimming teas or drinks, 15% buying weight loss books and one in ten investing in slimming pills.

The data also revealed that men typically invest more per year (£396) than women (£268) and that a quarter of adults have spent money on a gym membership in order to lose weight, whilst a fifth (22%) have bought exercise equipment for their home.

As Christmas and New Year’s resolutions loom, Benenden Health is encouraging individuals to consider their approach to a healthy lifestyle and understand the lifestyle changes that can be made at a low cost, or even for free.

The organisation’s research also revealed that whilst the average age for UK adults to first consider losing weight was revealed to be 30, a quarter of respondents (26%) said they first considered weight loss between the age of 16 and 25.

Matron at Benenden Health, Cheryl Lythgoe, said: “From a young age, we are surrounded by conversations about body image, diets and fancy exercise equipment and the vast majority of us have found ourselves trying to lose weight at some point during our lives.

“Clearly there are great health benefits to losing weight where it is necessary, so identifying where this is the case should be applauded. However, dedicated diets and slimming programmes are often unsustainable and ultimately unnecessary in achieving the end goal of being healthy, with many of these coming at a significant financial cost.

“Eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise remain the best ways to maintain our health and this can be achieved at very little cost – even simple exercises in and around the home can have great effects, whilst eating a balance of different foods ensures that we are not removing valuable vitamins and nutrients from our diet.

“Removing the burden of calorie counting and step measuring can also have great benefits on our mental health, with simple lifestyle changes able to support healthy weight loss and positive physical wellbeing.”

Benenden Health is a not-for-profit organisation offering high quality, private healthcare at the same affordable cost for everyone. This includes round the clock care such as 24/7 GP and Mental Health helplines, plus speedy access to services such as physiotherapy and medical treatment.

For more information about Benenden Health and to discover advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, go to!nutrition.