Exercise training with patients led to significant weight loss for Lancashire and South Cumbria GPDate posted: 5th July 2022
A GP who supports the population health work across Lancashire and South Cumbria was amazed to find how much weight she lost after taking part in an exercise programme with patients.
Dr Yas Naheed, who has diabetes, works as a GP in Burnley. Like many, she had struggled with her weight for a number of years and always found an excuse not to exercise but it was during lockdown when she received a letter informing her she was classed as vulnerable that she decided to take action.
Last year she took the plunge and signed up for personal training sessions and after just six weeks, Dr Naheed was amazed at how much better she felt.
She said: “My energy levels soared, my back pain was minimal, my ankles no longer hurt, and I started to lose weight – I felt 20 years younger. I felt so amazing that I wanted my patients to experience the benefits of being more active.”
It didn’t take long for Dr Naheed to identify a group of her patients who also had a high BMI and diabetes. She then contacted them and asked if they would be interested in attending personal training sessions in a bid to improve their health and wellbeing.
She said: “I asked them if they’d like to take part in a 12-week programme attending a personal training session with myself and others.
“At the beginning, middle and end of the programme, I would test their blood, calculate their BMI, and measure their wellbeing score. We also covered the importance of healthy eating and gave dietary handouts.
“The results have been amazing - some have lost massive amounts of weight, another saw a dramatic improvement in his diabetic control and the amount of insulin he needed and others saw an overall improvement in strength levels and overall fitness. Going on this journey with my patients has been eye-opening and I feel really privileged that it was the trust between doctor and patient which encouraged them to get involved and stay motivated.”
The sessions were organised and delivered in Dr Naheed’s own time, and she took part with her patients and stayed afterwards to chat and answer any questions.
Since Dr Naheed started this journey of improving her health and wellbeing in May last year she has lost 28kgs – which is almost four and a half stone.
Dr Naheed explains: “My eating habits have changed a little but the biggest factor in my weight loss is exercise. I also used an app to track my progress, which informed me of my journey, how much time I’d spent in the gym and the amount of weight I was losing – I found it motivated me to do more.”
Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System has been part of the National Population Health Management Development Programme to identify and support people at high risk of becoming unwell now and in the future and this motivated Dr Naheed to link her two passions together.
All over the country GP teams and their partners in Integrated Care Systems are using a population health approach to identify people who need more support and find local solutions to help improve their health and wellbeing. A new population health academy in Lancashire and South Cumbria will ensure that this knowledge and expertise is spread across the region and patients benefit.
Dr Andy Knox, associate medical director for population health across Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “I am delighted that Dr Naheed has adopted population health techniques to help improve the lives of her patients. In fact, she has shown incredible leadership – having the energy and the commitment to transform her own life and use this knowledge and insight to develop a 12-week programme to help her diabetic patients.
“Population health brings together an understanding of the health needs of a given population, using data to drive improvement, patient engagement, and health and care insights. Successful implementation relies on inspiring leadership and a shared way of doing things. This is exactly what Yas did. As our population health academy gains ground we will see the transformation of people’s health and lives like this.”
Read more on Dr Naheed's work: https://www.england.nhs.uk/blog/how-gps-designed-new-frailty-models-during-population-health-pilot/
Dr Naheed is pictured below before and after the exercise programme: