Obesity is defined as a prevalent, complex, progressive, and relapsing chronic disease, characterised by abnormal or excess body fat (adiposity), which impairs health.

A VLCD Programme can form one of the possible tools for the management of obesity and its health consequences. A VLCD is intended to ‘kick-start’ a wellness journey and is intended to be a short-term approach.

In this course we explore the advantages of a VLCD Programme and why this approach is often more successful in achieving and maintaining weight-loss in many individuals. We cover the benefits of using a VLCD Programme for various conditions and explore the inclusion and exclusion criteria, as well as situations when caution should be applied.

An in-depth overview on how to implement the various phases of a VLCD Programme will then be covered, as well as the use of physical activity as part of a lifestyle intervention. 

Who Should Enrol

Dietitians, Doctors, Nurses & other interested registered healthcare professionals

Course Design

Online Course

Course Content


  • What is a very low-calorie diet Programme?
  • Benefits of a VLCD Programme
  • Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria for a VLCD Programme
  • How to Implement a VLCD Programme
  • The Next Phases of a VLCD Programme
  • Exercise & a VLCD Programme

Course Highlights

This course incorporates information from the latest guidelines in obesity management and aims to optimise the treatment of individuals with overweight / obesity. 

It offers various learning formats, from individual readings to recorded presentations, which can be watched at leisure. This Course also forms the foundation for future master classes on the use of VLCDs.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, Healthcare Professionals should be able to: 

  • Identify VLCD as an option for weight-loss in the management of obesity (excess adiposity).
  • Advocate why a VLCD should be administered under medical supervision as part of a multidisciplinary team approach.
  • Illustrate that a VLCD offers an evidence-based approach that can be used as part of the management of several obesity-related co-morbidities.
  • Describe the potential that a VLCD has on medication doses and number of drugs needed
  • Evaluate the use of a VLCD in applicable clients, based on the evidence and profiles of study participants.
  • Identify the inclusion and exclusion criteria for a VLCD.
  • Be able to apply a VLCD appropriately in practice.
  • Plan how to safely implement a VLCD.
  • Implement a VLCD intervention according to the ‘5A’ approach, minimising stigmatisation.
  • Screen potential clients for psychological or eating disorders and refer to a psychologist or psychiatrist if necessary.
  • Optimise the time of the Intensive Phase to explore and improve the client’s relationship with food.
  • Apply behavioural intervention strategies during the Initial Phase of the VLCD.
  • Focus on improved health and well-being and not just the loss of excess adiposity / weight. 
  • Identify when it would be suitable to transition from the Intensive Phase to the next phases and finally to weight maintenance.
  • Identify barriers to successful long-term weight maintenance and approaches to support the client to overcome these barriers.
  • Discuss the role that physical activity provides for weight maintenance.
  • Explain the influence of physical activity on appetite.
  • Provide recommendations for the quantity and intensity of physical activity during all Phases of a VLCD.
  • Produce practical tips on how to implement the recommended amount and intensity of physical activity.


Pre- & post-Module formative assessment MCQ’s and summative assessment MCQ’s

Each Module will have 5 pre- and post-Module questions (which will be the same, to evaluate if you have improved their knowledge). Participants need to achieve a minimum score of 80% to progress to the next Module. If you don’t achieve 80%, you need to re-do the Module content and the Post-Module Assessment. If this process is unsuccessful twice, a mandatory coaching session will be provided before another attempt can be made. Once you do achieve 80%, you can move onto the next Module.

Case studies will be available for each module, to assist with guiding participants applying the knowledge they have gained. This will need to be completed to progress to the next Module.

A summative assessment consisting of 10 questions for each module (60 in total) will be available at the end of the course. These questions will be more difficult than the pre- & post-module assessment questions and aim to test overall knowledge gained.


Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA)


23 clinical points


Complete all Modules and Module tasks and then complete the Summative Post-Course Assessment (Mandatory) with a minimum score of 80%.

If this process is unsuccessful 2 times, a mandatory coaching session will be provided before another attempt can be made.

23.0 Clinical Points

23.0 Max Points

Enquire Now

This Course provides an in-depth overview on the benefits of a very low-calorie therapeutic diet (VLCD) for various health conditions and how to implement a VLCD Programme in practice.