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Portsmouth’s Wellbeing Service supports residents to quit smoking, drink less alcohol and achieve a healthy weight.

The service offers a free healthy weight programme for residents aged over 18 and with a BMI of 25-35. The programme operates from community venues across the city. There are also virtual programmes available.

Portsmouth resident Maureen, aged 79, completed the programme earlier this year, which helped her to lose 10% of her body weight. She said: “You’re never too old to live a healthy life.”

Maureen, who lives with Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea, applied for the programme after seeing it advertised in the council’s Flagship magazine.

Maureen started attending a weekly session at the John Pounds Centre where she met with Wellbeing Workers, Emily, and Pauline. Maureen said the information she was provided was an ‘eye opener’ and they were great at explaining different elements of healthy living including what constitutes a healthy diet and making manageable changes such as portion control and reading food labels.

Maureen said: “Mainly I’ve learnt that having a bad day shouldn’t be treated as a failure. My attitude now is ‘so I’ve eaten what wasn’t planned – how do I rectify the problem?’ It’s slow to change bad habits but the rewards outweigh the difficult days.

“Although it was a free 12 weeks, I would willingly have paid a fee as to me it’s far superior to other clubs I’ve attended in previous years. You’re not embarrassed and it’s your choice if you wish to share your weight loss or gain.”

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at Portsmouth City Council, said: “Being a healthy weight brings benefits including lower cholesterol levels, improved blood-sugar control, lower risk of heart disease or stroke and reduced aches and pains.

“Losing weight is often easier with support so I’m pleased that we’re able to offer a free service for our residents. Slimming groups can be effective but come at a cost and the crucial element that the Wellbeing Service provide is teaching people about healthy eating so that they have the knowledge to continue losing weight once they have stopped using the service.

“I’m thrilled that Maureen has been so successful; it is a fantastic achievement and shows we can all strive to live a healthier life at any point in our lives.”

If you are a Portsmouth resident and want support with losing weight, stopping smoking, or drinking less alcohol, then contact the Wellbeing Service on 023 92294 001 or visit