06/02/2014 05:36 GMT | Updated 06/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Stoke-on-Trent Council Spends £10,000 On 'Motivational' Texts To Encourage Obese People

A Council is spending £10,000 on "motivational" text messages to overweight people.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s scheme sends daily texts to obese people with a short message of "advice and support."

They include statements such as: "Maybe walk to the shops or use the stairs more often", "aim to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables each day" and "keep a check on snacks and drinks."

A HuffPost mock-up of how the texts may appear

But many are sceptical.

One Twitter user suggest the council simply tweet: "'BE LESS FAT."

Another said the scheme was a "great use of my council tax."

Obesity has reached epidemic levels across Stoke-on-Trent, where an estimated 28 per cent of adults are obese, officials have revealed.

A spokesperson for Stoke-on-Trent City Council said the 500 residents signed up to the scheme will receive a total of 90 texts over the 10 weeks.

Each message reportedly costs the authority 6p to send out - meaning a total of £2,700 is wasted in total.

A follow-up questionnaire, telephone interview, advertising and the licence for the NHS-owned Simple Telehealth text service is apparently equal to £10,000.

The council insisted the scheme will "save money and suffering" in the long run.

It is a tried and tested approach used by private sector organisations like Slimming World, and that this "early intervention" initiative is cheaper than "cure," they said.

A council spokesperson told the BBC:“This is all about getting people on board and taking action before they need medical support, which is so expensive and personally upsetting.

“This saves both money and suffering.”