New centre to tackle obesity launched in Leeds
The recent Health Select Committee report on childhood obesity and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity challenged the government as it prepares its Childhood Obesity Plan. Key areas that have been outlined are:
- Continued action on prevention measures such as marketing to children and reformulation of foods.
- Whole systems approach – everyone working together from across all key stakeholders for a joined up approach.
- Supporting children who already have weight problems.
- Addressing weight stigma.
- Obesity/Weight management training.
Professors Sahota and Gately are both delighted to see these themes as the cornerstone of the recommendations by this important and influential committee because they align closely with the new centre’s four main research themes.
The Applied Obesity Research Centre will have four main research themes:
- Weight stigma and discrimination – Dr Stuart Flint
- Prevention and treatment – Professor Pinki Sahota
- The Environment – Dr Claire Griffiths
- Whole systems obesity – Dr Duncan Radley
Professor Pinki Sahota, Professor of Nutrition and Childhood Obesity, from the School of Clinical and Applied Sciences, said: “We want to take a holistic approach to obesity. Previously we have all been working individually or in small groups, so we’ve been missing out on the opportunity to pool our great expertise on obesity. Launching the Applied Obesity Research Centre means that all the experts will work together and with the key stakeholders to tackle the issue. This makes us a more formidable voice on the subject and will mean we have a greater capacity to work on all areas.”
The aim of the Applied Obesity Research Centre, which is launching today with an event at Cloth Hall Court, is to improve the understanding of the development of obesity, including the associated illnesses of Cardio Vascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes, and psychosocial conditions. As well as improving the understanding the centre will identify effective preventative and management approaches.
Professor Paul Gately, from the Carnegie School of Sport, said: “This centre will be unique because we will be working with people who have obesity and listening to what they have to say about how we can help them and prevent others from becoming obese.
“There are 2.8 million children and young people, and 27 percent of adults in the UK who suffer with obesity so this issue cannot be more important. Professor Sahota, Dr Stuart Flint and Dr James Nobles have recently appeared before Parliament to offer advice and opinions on what must be done to tackle the problem. We are being invited to comment on obesity and are being listened to by those who develop obesity strategies, and we hope that we can shape the future of how the government looks at the prevention of obesity, particularly in children, but also tackling those who are already obese and desperately need help.”
Those attending the launch event, including clinicians, academics and researcher, will be welcomed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University Andrew Slade, before hearing about the new centre from Professors Pinki Sahota and Paul Gately. Each theme will then be introduced by its lead, with delegates also hearing from the Director of Helping to Overcome Obesity (HOOP) Sarah Le Brocq, who herself has struggled with weight issues.