Weight loss trial combines science with telehealth


Customers taking part in the first ever Bupa supported healthy weight trial, have taken significant strides forward in their weight-loss journey with almost one third of participants reporting a drop of 5 per cent or more of their starting weight.

The Bupa Healthy Weight Trial Program provided participants with 12-months access to the CSIRO’s Total Wellbeing Diet online program with at least 10 health coaching phone calls with an accredited Bupa Telehealth dietitian. Meal plans and advice were personalised to meet participants’ specific lifestyle requirements and health diagnostics.

The majority of participants reported an increased fruit and vegetable consumption, increased physical activity and improved knowledge and confidence to manage their weight in the long-term. Research tells us that maintaining a healthy weight and adequate physical activity levels in the long-term can significantly reduce our risk of developing a chronic disease later in life, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

Gael Filippini, Director of Healthcare Management at Bupa said these successes are made even more significant considering the challenging COVID-19 environment.

“We know how important it is to have someone to talk through ideas and challenges when embarking on a weight-loss journey. Particularly during this stressful time where research suggests emotional wellbeing suffers along with diet[1].”

The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet is an online program where our participants accessed all the evidence-based tools and resources that they need 24/7, focusing on diet, exercise and emotional wellbeing.

This is complimented by the fact that participants did not need to rely on face-to-face consultations, meaning their access to advice and support was not interrupted by COVID-19. Though operating remotely, our telehealth dietitians were ever-present to support each individual in achieving a healthy weight,” Gael said.

According to The Department of Health, around two-thirds of Australian adults are overweight or obese, with self-directed lifestyle changes identified as the key to sustainable weight-loss[2].

Unlike fad diets, The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet has been developed to promote long-lasting behavioural and attitudinal changes amongst participants.

“Our dietitians always stress that it’s not just about achieving a healthy weight, it’s also about living a healthy lifestyle. This means having a positive relationship with food, exercise without the feeling of being bogged down by unrealistic expectations or feeling weight-loss surgery is the only option,” Gael said.

The Healthy Weight Trial Program concluded in December 2020. Bupa continues to support our customers and is looking at a range of weight management options in 2021.

Bupa is also committed supporter of the work of the Obesity Collective and its mission to take on the obesity challenge together, with empathy and a whole of society perspective.

[1] https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2020/CSIRO-study-reveals-COVID-19s-impact-on-weight-and-emotional-wellbeing
[2] https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/Overweight-and-Obesity