Research in the area of childhood obesity has focussed on the
development, implementation and evaluation of interventions. The APPLES
Study (1996-99), the first UK school-based RCT was key in contributing to
the evidence-base through wide dissemination including 3 BMJ (2001)
publications, cited in NICE (2006) and WHO guidance (2004). Collaborations
with academics, practitioners and the RCPCH led to the development of
further community-based obesity treatment and prevention interventions
including WATCH IT; early programmes e.g. EMPOWER, HELP and HAPPY and more
recently innovative school-based initiatives involving school gardening.
There is evidence of results being disseminated and influencing research,
practice and policy.
The research of Dr Duncan Buchan, a member of the Institute of Clinical
Exercise & Health Science, has led to two critically important impacts
which involve the identification of the prevalence of cardiometabolic
disease risk in youth populations and thereafter the effects of physical
activity interventions upon cardiometabolic risk in these populations. A
key impact has been in the evaluation of the effects of High Intensity
Training (HIT). The results have generated significant levels of media
publicity and interest from the health and well-being community both
nationally and internationally. This work has significantly contributed to
the debate and awareness of the importance of physical activity for health
This case study describes the research pathway and impact of a behaviour
change DVD designed to increase physical activity in sedentary individuals
in deprived communities. Developed as part of a randomised controlled
trial with the National Institute for Health Research's Health Technology
Assessment programme (HTA), together with supporting research expertise,
the DVD is now part of NHS/local authority commissioned standard care in
Barnsley and has reached over 7,000 individuals and families. Service
evaluation data confirm the DVD has significantly improved the
cardiovascular risk profiles of users and contributed to a population
level rise in physical activity in Barnsley.
It is widely acknowledged that increasing physical activity (PA) levels
within `hard-to-reach' groups
is challenging. Researchers in the School have addressed these challenges
resulting in impacts in
two recognized `hard-to-reach' groups: ethnic minority communities and
patients who are at risk of
disease onset and/or are suffering from diminished quality of
life/disability due to chronic disease.
In the former, our research has demonstrated how to make PA accessible and
appropriate; in the
latter, in addition, we have increased physical activity levels. In both
examples, our research has
changed professional training and/or standards.
The impact of the research described, lies in its ability to identify the
prevalence and clustering of
unhealthy lifestyle behaviours in young adults, and describe the
characteristics of the differing
lifestyles. Unhealthy behaviours are primary causes of premature morbidity
Inactivity, smoking, alcohol use and poor diet are the four major
behavioural contributors to chronic
illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The
findings have been used to
highlight the powerful influence of these behaviours on health, and also
to highlight the particular
impact on health created by these behaviours interacting together. These
timely findings will aid
health professionals to develop appropriate health prevention programmes
targeting young adults.
Obesity has a massive impact on health and threatens future productivity.
In the UK alone it will cause hundreds of thousands of additional cases of
diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer, with associated medical costs
set to increase by £1.9-2 billion/year by 2030. Obesity is a particular
problem for men: in Scotland more men (69%) than women (60%) are already
overweight or obese, but only 10-30% of slimming club members are male.
The University of Glasgow's Football Fans in Training (FFIT) programme is
delivering gender-sensitised weight loss and healthy living programmes to
overweight and obese men aged 35-65 through Scottish Premier League
football clubs. More than 2000 men have already taken part across 16
football clubs, and the programme is currently being rolled out to
Scottish prisons. FFIT is being reformulated for rugby clubs in England
and New Zealand and football clubs throughout Europe. The research has
been widely publicised in TV and radio, and the Scottish Government has
committed further funding to extend the programme.
We improve Public Health and facilitate personal growth through promoting
active lifestyles. We have provided an evidence-base of effective
intervention approaches across settings, in `hard-to-engage' populations
and through distinctive planning and delivery approaches. Our support for
practitioners and commissioners has developed (i) ways to show the
effectiveness of interventions to increase activity and (ii) programmes
that achieve wider developmental aims. These effects are achieved by
deploying innovative, often bespoke, realistic impact measures that
improve programme effectiveness in locations, venues and groups where
other groups do not go.
Research at Coventry University has produced innovative approaches to
addressing sexual health and wellbeing issues, sexual health promotion and
sex education. The research has resulted in:-
Health inequalities are recognised as a critical UK policy issue with
life expectancy gaps of up to 28 years between the least and most deprived
areas. This case-study demonstrates how Durham University research has led
to: (a) changing health service commissioning (with County Durham and
Darlington Primary Care Trust [PCT]): (b) influencing NHS funding
policy (by generating Parliamentary debate); as well as (c)
contributing to the development of the new public health system in England
and Wales (as part of the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in
England post-2010 [Marmot Review]).
The Health Advancement Research Team (HART) members critically evaluated
the North-East Lincolnshire Obesity Prevention Strategy, the first such
evaluation in the UK. The research led directly to measureable
improvements: specific new training programmes and resource allocations;
partnership development and co-ordination; health-worker behaviour change;
increases in employment amongst obesity prevention healthcare staff; a new
communications strategy; and an increase in healthy eating opportunities.
The Care Trust considers that the research has had a beneficial impact on
obesity levels in North-East Lincolnshire. The research team/Care Trust
partnership has strengthened and is continuing, and the results are
replicable nationally and internationally.