To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video
Whole Systems Obesity

Whole Systems Approach to Tackle Obesity

Attend our National Conference 

What is the project about?

Whole Systems Obesity Logo

Obesity is a major global health crisis, one in four adults are obese* and childhood obesity has been classed by the World Health Organisation as one of the most serious challenges for the 21st Century with significant health, social and economic consequences.

However, tackling obesity is a complex and multifaceted problem with over a hundred contributing factors as identified in the Foresight Tackling Obesities systems map. 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 within a sustained whole systems approach.

The role of local authorities (LAs) in tackling and working to prevent obesity is crucial. Public Health England, the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Public Health are exploring how to make greater in-roads into tackling obesity by developing whole systems approaches’ that act across the local system. Leeds Beckett University has been commissioned to lead a three year programme to explore with LAs and other partners what a Whole Systems Approaches may look like on the ground.

What will the outputs of the programme be?

Leeds Beckett University and a range of other partners will be working closely with LAs to understand what is working well and what the opportunities and realities are for LAs in tackling obesity. The goal is to co-produce a roadmap that will enable LAs to make a major step change in dealing with this important and challenging issue.

The key to this is exploring what works and what might work, drawing on both international learning and the experiences of colleagues working in LAs across England, UK and internationally. We aim to produce a first draft of this roadmap by autumn 2016, and a tested, refined and expanded final version by September 2018.  The programme is also likely to generate new research findings. Find out more about the project.

For enquiries about the study, please contact us on  

To enquire and to sign up to our free newsletter, register your interest.

*Health & Social Care Information Centre. (2014) Health Survey for England, 2013: Health, social care and lifestyles: summary of findings. [online] Health & Social Care Information Centre. Available at: [Accessed 03 July 2015].

Community of Learning

We have just launched a new Community of Learning survey. We are collating examples of who is doing what in terms of creating a whole systems approach to obesity, or another wellbeing-related subject. We are keen to hear from colleagues about your experiences so that we can get a better understanding of how people are interpreting and introducing whole systems approaches so that we can share the information more widely. 

You can complete the survey here: Whole Systems Working

The deadline is Friday 10 June.


Event explores whole systems approach to obesity programme

The event held on Thursday 26 November targeted those engaged in tackling obesity, promoting healthier lifestyles and creating healthier environments. There was an opportunity to find out about the programme from the team at Leeds Beckett and the Programme Lead from Public Health England. Discussions included how the team will be working with local authorities to understand their perspectives and identifying what actions are needed over the short, medium and long term; as well as what benefits such an approach can bring.

To read more please visit our News web pages

Read the latest newsletter 

Click here to read our April 2016 newsletter. It will: 

  • Update on co-production with the four Pilot Local Authorities
  • Feedback from Local Authorities: what local authorities are keen to see in terms of on going engagement with the Programme
  • Responses from our survey of the Community of Learning about what colleagues consider to be the biggest enablers, opportunities and challenges in creating and delivering Whole Systems Approaches to Obesity
  • Information about four fully funded PhD scholarships with Leeds Beckett University