Obesity is costing the NHS at least £2.6 billion a year. Being overweight leads to increased health problems and social isolation.

Siobhan Ryan looks at how a change in lifestyle and attitude can help someone lose weight and keep the pounds off.

One-in-five adults in the UK are classed as obese and 30,000 die prematurely every year partly as a result of chronic weight problems.

People who are overweight increase the risk of strokes, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Overweight women are 37 times more likely to be diagnosed with minor depression and have a 55 times greater chance of dying from cancer.

One of the most difficult problems people face is once they have lost weight they often put it all back on again - despite trying a variety of diet and exercise regimes.

For those concerned about the health implications of carrying excess weight and those who have unsuccessfully tried fad diets, there is an answer available.

According to the Shadi Danin Clinic in Hove, an holistic approach is needed to losing weight.

This includes making sure a person is eating the right foods and getting all the nutrition they need, as well as having regular exercise.

Another important aspect is to make sure the person gets all the emotional help and support they need to keep going, which is often the most difficult aspect.

A new scheme called the Weight and Shape programme is now up and running at the clinic and has proved to be very successful.

Each programme lasts ten weeks and clients work with a team consisting of a counselling psychologist, sports therapist and people who are experiencing similar problems to themselves.

We explore what, if anything, clients have tried in the past to reduce their weight and increase fitness, why they still have a weight problem and move towards what regimes will work for them in the future.

Before they join up with this or similar schemes, experts warn people should get clearance from their local GP first to make sure there is no medical reason why they should not take part.

For people who are very overweight, especially those who may have found it has come on suddenly, we need to check them out in case there is something medically wrong such as a thyroid problem, explained Brighton GP, Andrew Marriott.

It is also useful before starting on any programme of exercise to check blood pressure and the condition of the heart. Projects that offer a combined approach are becoming more popular and an increasing number of people are going to see their GPs to talk about taking part in these types of schemes.

Mary Marchant from the Shadi Danin clinic said it was vital that people who committed to the project saw it through.

This is a long term effort and what we like to stress is that we will adapt to suit the individual involved, she explained.

People can work in group sessions if they want to, but we have found that most people prefer to work on their own with the counsellor, nutritionist and sports therapist on a one-to-one basis.

It doesn't take long for people to begin to notice the difference, especially with those who have never exercised regularly before or who haven't done so for a long time.

Elaine Johnson, from Brighton, has battled against her weight for more than ten years and has just started a combined weight loss and exercise programme.

I have tried absolutely everything but no matter what I do I can never bring my weight under control, she revealed.

I had tried slimming clubs and, although they worked for a while, I was soon putting on the weight again.

The idea of having a place where I am offered advice on nutrition, given an exercise regime and counselled on the reasons behind my weight problems had never occurred to me.

I am now about to give it a try and hopefully this time I will be able to make things work.

Things are certainly going well at the moment and I have lost three pounds in my first week.

For more details about the programme call 01273 777177.