Category Archives: Obesity, Nutrition

Tackling obesity: what the UK can learn from other countries

By 2020 Health (2018)

2020health’s third report on obesity since 2014 highlights the fact that strong and mandated central policy, supporting bold, holistic local action, is still needed to impact what is arguably the greatest health challenge of the 21st century. The report examines topical obesity intervention strategies from around the world to frame the question: can the UK learn from policy abroad?

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Childhood obesity: time for action

By House of Commons Health Committee (2018)

The government is expected to publish shortly a refreshed version of the childhood obesity plan first published in summer 2016. This report calls for an effective childhood obesity plan with a joined-up, whole systems approach and one that focuses particularly on tackling the ever-widening health inequality due to childhood obesity between the richest and poorest area.

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Economic evaluations of system‐based obesity interventions – the case for a new approach

Sonntag. D.  et al. Obesity Reviews, 2018; 19(5)

System‐based interventions are of increasing interest as they seek to modify environments (e.g. socio‐cultural system, transport system or policy system) that promote development of conditions such as obesity and its related risk factors. In our commentary, we draw attention to features of the system‐based approach that may explain the relative absence of economic evaluations of the cost‐effectiveness of these interventions, needed to guide decision‐making on which to deploy. We present and discuss potentially applicable methods and alternative approaches based on our experiences in two major system‐based interventions currently underway (in Melbourne, Australia and Gaggenau, Germany) that begin to fill this gap. We feel the issues and potential solutions outlined in this commentary are important for a broad range of stakeholders (e.g. clinicians, interventionalists, policy makers) to consider as they seek to address the issue of obesity.

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A systematic review of economic evaluations of local authority commissioned preventative public health interventions in overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol and illicit drugs use and smoking cessation in the United Kingdom

White, P. et al. Journal of Public Health, 2018, doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdy026

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Abstract
Background
Since 2013, local authorities in England have been responsible for commissioning preventative public health interventions. The aim of this systematic review was to support commissioning by collating published data on economic evaluations and modelling of local authority commissioned public health preventative interventions in the UK.

Methods
Following the PRISMA protocol, we searched for economic evaluations of preventative intervention studies in four different areas: overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, alcohol and illicit drugs use and smoking cessation. The systematic review identified studies between January 1994 and February 2015, using five databases. We synthesized the studies to identify the key methods and examined results of the economic evaluations.

Results
The majority of the evaluations related to cost-effectiveness, rather than cost-benefit analyses or cost-utility analyses. These analyses found preventative interventions to be cost effective, though the context of the interventions differed between the studies.

Conclusions
Preventative public health interventions in general are cost-effective. There is a need for further studies to support justification of continued and/or increased funding for public health interventions. There is much variation between the types of economically evaluated preventative interventions in our review. Broader studies incorporating different contexts may help support funding for local authority-sponsored public health initiatives.

Tackling multiple unhealthy risk factors: emerging lessons from practice

By The King’s Fund (2018)

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  • Previous research by The King’s Fund has shown that unhealthy behaviours cluster in the population. Around seven in ten adults do not follow guidelines on tobacco use, alcohol consumption, healthy diet or physical activity, yet most behaviour change services address these behaviours separately, not reflecting the reality of people’s lives.
  • This report shares learning and insight from services that are using innovative ways to address the problem of multiple unhealthy risk factors in their populations. It draws on interviews and information from eight case studies in local authorities and the NHS and updates the evidence base on tackling multiple unhealthy risk factors.
  • Most services included in the report are local authority led and are integrated health and wellbeing services. These provide behavioural advice and support to people across a range of different behaviours, including smoking, weight management and physical activity.
  • The NHS is also addressing multiple unhealthy behaviours. We set out learning from two hospitals supporting individuals with multiple risk factors.
  • The evidence for these behaviour change services to draw on, in the context of multiple unhealthy risk factors, remains limited. These services are in a position to develop the evidence base on how best to address multiple unhealthy behaviours.
  • The report makes recommendations on how services can develop and share evidence, and for how the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England can support further innovation in such services.

Making obesity everyone’s business: a whole systems approach to obesity

By Local Government Association (2017)

This briefing, written in partnership with Public Health England and the Association of Directors of Public Health, focuses on the Whole Systems Obesity programme, which will provide local authorities with a different approach to tackling obesity. The programme is exploring the evidence and local practice to develop guidance and tools to help councils set up a whole systems approach to obesity in their local area.

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Green space and health

By Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) (2016)

A range of bodies, including government agencies, have promoted the possible physical and mental health benefits of access to green space. This briefing summarises the evidence for physical and mental health benefits from contact with nature, such as reducing rates of non-communicable diseases, and the challenges for urban green spaces.

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