The prevalence of obesity is higher in people with a learning disability and this group are likely to face greater barriers accessing weight loss advice. Slimming World, the UK’s largest weight management organisation, have recently developed Easy Read resources for members with a learning disability or difficulty. The aim of this work is to assess the demand for Easy Read resources, understand reasons for their request and their support in weight control.The resources were launched in March 2019 and included; an Easy Read guide to the weight loss programme covering dietary and physical activity advice, an Easy Read healthy eating poster, an Easy Read enrolment form and A4 size food diaries.
Slimming World group Consultants (n=5500) requested the new resources by contacting the Slimming World Nutrition & Research team. Details of the requests were logged and linked to electronic weight records.
By 4 weeks post-launch, 722 Consultants (13%) had requested a total of 1749 Easy Read packs, 98.7% of which were granted. For the 21 requests turned down, the member did not have a form of learning difficulty. Most packs were requested for Slimming World members but 1.4% were for staff at supported living facilities where the member resided.The majority of requests were for members who attend group with a carer (24%), followed by those who had a non-specific learning difficulty (21%) or disability (15.8%), were unable to read or write (9.3%), had Down’s syndrome (8.7%), dyslexia (6.7%), autism (6.8%), a neurological impairment (2.5%) were deaf or hard of hearing (3.2%), partially sighted (2.6%) or other (10.2%).
This initial demand for Easy Read resources demonstrates there is a need for tailored weight management information for people who have learning disabilities or difficulties. Feedback is being gathered regarding the value of the resources to members alongside the effectiveness in supporting weight loss using attendance and weight loss records.