UNIVERSITY experts in Leeds are to investigate how councils could help tackle the country’s growing obesity epidemic.
Leeds Beckett University has been commissioned to help local authorities develop strategies which combine all of their services to help deal with the issue.
The three-year programme, funded by Public Health England, is aiming to enable local authorities to make a major step change in their ability to tackle obesity.
Previous research has suggested that only by taking “a whole systems approach” can councils make an impact in reducing the problem. This would mean linking decisions taken in planning, housing, transport, children’s and adult’s services, business and health.
The university has been commissioned by Public Health England, the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Public Health to lead a programme,
Leeds Beckett’s team will work closely alongside a number of pilot local authorities to identify “best practice” approaches already being used.
Paul Gately, Professor of exercise and obesity at Leeds Beckett, added: “At Leeds Beckett we’ve been at the forefront of understanding the issues involved in tackling obesity and finding solutions for over twenty years. We have found that part of the problem is after we successfully support people to lose weight they still have to function in an external environment which is full of pressures and challenges. By changing the external environment through a whole systems approach, local authorities can make it easier for individuals to reach a healthy weight and keep surplus weight off. A whole systems approach makes sure that people transition into a healthier environment.”