LONDON, May 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Overweight Brits are in denial about their weight and continue to eat an unhealthy diet despite health warnings about obesity, according to new research by weight loss aid alli*. One in five (20%) overweight people[1] questioned in Britain said they have never tried to lose their excess weight at all. Overweight and obese people blamed their excessive weight on eating too much (54%), eating the wrong foods (49%) and snacking (46%).

The survey of 8,500 overweight and obese people across Europe coincides with the launch of European Obesity Day's 'Stop Yo Yo' campaign on May 21st. Further results from the research revealed that almost half (45%) of British people with a BMI of 28-29.9 have been trying to lose weight for less than 6 months. Dubbed the 'weight loss deniers', they were also the least likely of those surveyed to have spoken to, or be planning to speak to, a healthcare professional about their weight.[2]

Serial dieters (BMI 30+)

Results showed that as people's BMI increases they become less likely to sustain their weight loss: 76% of British women in the BMI 30-35.9 group had lost weight but subsequently regained it, and this figure rose to 77% in the group with BMI 36+. By the time people find themselves in these higher BMI groups they have been stuck in an unsuccessful 'weight loss trap' for longer: 45% of people in the BMI group 36+ had been trying to lose weight for over 6 years.

The research also suggests that years of unsuccessful weight loss attempts can also have a negative psychological impact, and by the time people reach BMI 36+ many feel 'blamed and shamed' about their weight by both society and themselves:

- 50% say people are quick to judge them on the way they look

- A third (33%) resort to 'eating to help themselves feel better'

- By this stage over a third (35%) have spent 10 years or more trying to lose weight

- 21% are worried people look at them when they're eating and 10% eat healthy foods in front of people

Holly Turner, UK Brand Director for alli, said of the findings; "We undertook this research to gain a better understanding of the barriers that are preventing people from losing weight and maintaining their weight loss over the long term, and it seems that the bigger the problem, the harder people find it to tackle successfully. The alli programme encourages people to make changes to their diet and lifestyle that can help them sustain their weight loss, but also offers an incentive in the form of the capsule, which can boost weight loss efforts by 50%, compared to dieting alone. So for every two pounds you work to lose, adding alli can help you lose 1lb more."

Paula Keogh, who lost a stone on the alli programme, believes her weight gain was caused by unknowingly eating the wrong foods; "Following the alli programme taught me to think about the food I was eating as I had to follow a reduced calorie, lower fat eating plan. I realised that many of the meals I'd thought were healthy were actually filled with hidden fat, but by making small changes, such as swapping sour cream for low fat natural yoghurt, I found I could still enjoy my favourite meals and lose weight."

*ICM interviewed a random sample of 8,500 adults aged 18-64 years old of BMI 28+ in 17 European markets online and on telephone between in February 2011, including 500 people in Britain. Interviews were made on a nationally representative basis, and interviews are the result of inbuilt survey filter requirements. Further information at

Notes to editors

alli 60 mg capsules are a weight loss aid containing orlistat. For overweight adults with a BMI of 28 or over. Follow a reduced calorie, lower-fat diet. Always read the label. Available in pharmacies.

alli capsules are designed to be used with the alli support programme which supports the individual on their weight loss journey and guides them towards their goals. The alli programme includes a range of online support tools on

alli is a registered trade mark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies.