Two local authorities are offering free 12-week weight management programmes for adults with a learning disability and those living with mental health challenges.

Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are offering the sessions as part of their ‘Healthy You’ programme, which provides participants with a 45-minute nutrition workshop and a 45-minute physical activity session once a week.

The sessions are run face-to-face by registered Nutritionists and trained Physical Activity Specialists who are “fun and social”, and aim to give people the chance to meet others who also want to get fit and healthy.

The local authorities say they “encourage a balanced approach to weight management by including what you eat and helping you to move more.” They will also help you track your progress and support you every step of the way on your health journey.

The sessions will be offered to people with learning disabilities who are aged 16 and over, live in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough, and have a BMI of over 25.

To register your interest, email or text signup to 60777.

Why are people with learning disabilities more likely to struggle with weight problems?

People with learning disabilities are more likely to have problems with their weight and may need extra help and support to stay healthy for a number of reasons. For example, certain medications and conditions such as Down’s syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome increase the risk of obesity.

Some people with learning disabilities may also be underweight because their disability makes it more difficult to eat or swallow.

As well as negatively impacting on mental health and wellbeing, obesity can lead to increased health risks and potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease; type 2 diabetes; stroke and some types of cancer.

However, a good diet and regular exercise can help people with learning disabilities to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Under the Equalities Act 2010, all organisations serving the public have to ensure the services they provide are accessible to people with disabilities as they are to everyone else.

For an easy-read summary about how weight services can help people with learning disabilities, click here.