Leeds Beckett University develop whole system approach to tackling obesity for Public Health England

Public Health England commissioned Leeds Beckett University to develop a guide and supporting resources to enable any Local Authority in England – and the wider UK – to implement a whole systems approach to tackling obesity within their local area.

The guide, published in July 2019, describes a “how to” process, which can enable local authorities, and their partners, to start creating their own local whole systems approaches to tackling obesity and promoting a healthy weight. Policy makers and practitioners were involved in the co-development of the guide and accompanying resources.

Although developed with a focus on obesity, the approach is applicable and transferable to any complex public health challenge.

About the research:

One in four adults are living with obesity. Childhood obesity has been classed by the World Health Organisation as one of the most serious challenges for the 21st Century. Old or young, obesity carries significant health, social and economic consequences.

The Foresight Tackling Obesities systems map illustrates the complex web of factors that cause obesity. Heterogeneous and interdependent individual and socio-environmental level factors all interact dynamically to affect behaviour. Therefore, to help to address this epidemic, we need to look across all the different factors and explore what can be done over the short, medium and long term.

Most Local Authorities will have some strategies and programmes in place to tackle obesity. By taking a whole systems approach, we can add value by providing the opportunity to engage stakeholders across the wider system. This in turn lets us develop a shared vision and coherent actions that tackle the more upstream drivers of obesity, which are often outside the realms of Public Health.

Find out more here: https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/research/centre-for-applied-obesity/whole-system-approach/

Further reading