Healthier weight promotion

A set of training tools providing evidence-based healthy weight messages for health and social care professionals to give to children, young people and families | Public Health England

The resources consist of:

The target audience for these resources is health and care professionals but they will be accessible to the wider public health workforce. This suite of resources is part of Public Health England’s All Our Health ‘call to action’ for health and care professionals.


Researchers predict almost 1 in 4 people worldwide to be obese by 2045 if current rates continue

University College London| June 2018 | Almost 1 in 4 people worldwide to be obese by 2045

Research presented in Austria at the recent European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Austria (23-26 May) indicates that if obesity levels continue at their current rates, 25 per cent of the population will be obese by 2045.


Researchers from University College London (UCL), Medical Anthropology, were involved in the discovery that to prevent of type 2 diabetes from going above 10% in 2045, global obesity levels must be reduced by 25%, from 14% to just over 10%.

For example, in the United Kingdom, current trends predict that obesity will rise from 32% today to 48% in 2045, while diabetes levels will rise from 10.2% to 12.6%, a 28% rise. To stabilise UK diabetes rates at 10%, obesity prevalence must fall from 32% to 24% (via UCL).
The full news item is available from UCL 

Childhood obesity: Time for action

Childhood obesity: time for action |   Health and Social Care Select Committee


It was estimated that the NHS in England spent £6.1 billion on overweight and obesity  related ill-health in 2017/18. To put this in context, this is more than the Government  spent on the police, fire service and judicial system combined.

Childhood obesity is also a leading cause of health inequality. The burden is falling
disproportionately on children from low-income backgrounds. Obesity rates are highest for children from the most deprived areas and the inequality gap has widened every year since formal recording began as part of the child measurement programme.

The Government is expected to publish shortly a refreshed version of the childhood obesity plan. This report from the Health and Social Care Select Committee outlines the key areas which demand attention as a matter of urgency by the Government before the next chapter of the plan is finalised.

The key areas include: A whole systems approach

  • Marketing and advertising
  • Price promotions
  • Early years and schools
  • Takeaways
  • Fiscal measures
  • Labelling
  • Services for children living with obesity

Full report: Childhood obesity: time for action

See also: Childhood obesity is everyone’s business

Successful weight loss maintainers have different behavioural and physiological responses to food, says study

University of Birmingham | May 2018 |Successful weight loss maintainers have different behavioural and physiological responses to food

Researchers at Birmingham University have discovered that leaner individuals have different responses to food compared to those with or those who have had obesity. The team compared the saliva production and heart rate (response) to pizza (stimuli) across the sample and found that obese individuals responded to the food, as their heart rate rose and saliva production increased. By contrast, the lean group who did not have a history of obesity were unresponsive.

In addition to the stimulus-response test, participants also completed cognitive tasks to gauge their motivation to gain, and avoid losing food and monetary rewards in a computerised task.  The sample had to decide whether a neutral symbol was associated with winning food, losing food, winning money or losing money. The ability of the lean group and the group with obesity to learn the task was affected by losing and winning food equally but the weight loss maintainers performance was less affected by food wins and more affected by food losses. Importantly, the three groups did not differ in their ability to learn the task in general as there was no difference in learning the task using monetary reward or losses (via University of Birmingham).

The full, undabridged details are available from the University of Birmingham

22,000 children severely obese when they leave primary school

Local Government Association| May 2018 | 22,000 children severely obese when they leave primary school

Children in their final year of primary school are nearly twice as likely to be obese as those in Reception, analysis by Local Government Association shows. Their analysis, the first of its kind for 2016/17 obtained by the LGA and supplied by the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), of data shows more than 22,000 children aged 10 and 11 in Year 6 are classed as severely obese (LGA).


The analysis shows:

  • A total of 22,646 out of 556,452 (4.1 per cent) of 10 and 11 year-old children in Year 6 are classed as severely obese;
  • This is nearly twice that of the 14,787 out of 629,359 children (2.35 per cent) of four and five year-old children in Reception classed as severely obese, showing children are gaining weight at a drastic rate as they go through schools.

Obesity in infancy linked to lower cognitive abilities

A new study from researchers at Brown University has investigated the impact of early obesity on children’s cognition. The researchers studied over 200 children whose weight relative to their height or length, was known at one and/or two years of  and who later underwent a series of cognitive tests. The children were also followed up with home visits with each one having their cognitive abilities assessed at five or eight years of age (via Science Daily)



Whether obesity is associated with childhood cognition is unknown. Given the sensitivity of the developing brain to environmental factors, this study examined whether early‐life weight status was associated with children’s cognition.


Using data from mother–child pairs enrolled in the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) Study (2003–2006), children’s early‐life weight status was assessed using weight‐for‐length/height standard deviation (SD) scores. A battery of neuropsychological tests was administered to assess cognition, executive function, and visual‐spatial abilities at ages 5 and 8 years. Using linear mixed models, associations between early‐life weight status and cognition were estimated.


Among 233 children, 167 were lean (≤1 SD) and 48 were nonlean (>1 SD). After covariate adjustment, the results suggest that full‐scale intelligence quotient scores decreased with a 1‐unit increase in weight‐for‐height SD score. For individual component scores, with a 1‐unit increase in weight‐for‐height SD score, perceptual reasoning and working memory scores decreased. Weight status was generally not associated with other cognition measures.


Within this cohort of typically developing children, early‐life weight status was inversely associated with children’s perceptual reasoning and working memory scores and possibly with full‐scale intelligent quotient scores.

The article has now been published in the journal Obesity, where it can be read in full
Full reference:
Li, N. et al | 2018 | Impact of Early‐Life Weight Status on Cognitive Abilities in Children | Obesity | Published online

Obesity services

The current landscape of obesity services |  The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity 

Image source:

This report presents the findings of an inquiry which sought to gather a body of evidence highlighting the current provision of obesity services, identify the barriers to better provision and sought to establish a consensus around potential solutions.  The report makes a number of recommendations which includes the development of a national obesity strategy.

Key findings of the report: 

  • 88% of people with obesity who took part in the survey have been stigmatised, criticised or abused as a result of their obesity.
  • 94% of all respondents believe that there is not enough understanding about the causes of obesity amongst the public, politicians and other stakeholders.
  • 42% of people with obesity did not feel comfortable talking to their GP about their obesity.
  • More than one third of people with obesity who completed the survey stated that they have not accessed any lifestyle or prevention services.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including:  

  1. A national obesity strategy for both adult and childhood obesity should be developed and implemented by the Government, with input from key stakeholders. This should look to strengthen existing services and replicate best practice across the country.
  2. Obesity/weight management training should be introduced into medical school syllabuses to ensure GPs and other healthcare practitioners feel able and comfortable to raise and discuss a person’s weight, without any stigma or discrimination.
  3. The Government should implement a 9pm watershed on advertising of food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt to protect children during family viewing time.
  4. The Government should lead or support efforts by the clinical community to investigate whether obesity should be classified as a disease in the UK, and what this would mean for the NHS and other services.
  5. The Government should commission or support the development of a thorough, peer-reviewed cost benefit analysis of earlier intervention and treatment of people with obesity.

Full report: The current landscape of obesity services