Healthy Weight HIT 2022-23

Co-directors Karen Coulman, Julian Hamilton-Shield, Justine Womack, Sally Hogg and Ruth Mears look back at the HIT's achievements in the last year.

  • 1st April 2023

Credit: World Obesity Federation

Reducing inequalities in weight management pathways and practice

People who suffer from poor mental health are likely to experience inequalities in accessing health services. HIT members have secured NIHR funding for a project that aims to improve weight management practices for people with mental health issues.

HIT directors working in collaboration with academic colleagues have secured Health Education England (HEE) funding to develop healthy eating training packages and e-learning national resources. These resources are aimed at paid carers for people with learning difficulties and/ or autism as mainstream weight management programmes may be inaccessible for them.

Julian Hamilton-Shield was awarded an NIHR Research for Patient Benefit grant to co-develop a therapeutic intervention for young people living with obesity. Additional funding from Bristol Royal Hospital for Children was obtained to offer two physical activity courses to young people who attend weight management clinics.

Evaluating health optimisation policies focused on weight

There is a link between obesity and arthritis; however, people with high BMI experience inequalities in accessing joint replacement surgery. Amanda Owen-Smith, a HIT member, is supervising a project looking at policy decision making process, drivers and barriers to offering surgical intervention and to understand how to positively influence future decisions.

Using big data to predict health outcomes and evaluate interventions

Karen Coulman is undertaking research interviews with health professionals and patients to understand the reasons why overweight and obesity is under-recorded in primary care, and why only 3% of people diagnosed with overweight or obesity between 2007 and 2020 received a referral for weight management. Her work will contribute to the improvement of data captured for the National Obesity Database, as she is a member of this group.

Implementing and evaluating systems approaches

Justine Womack is delivering workshops to weight management providers and commissioners in the South West, to improve the alignment of weight management services. The HIT has facilitated and brought together people who, until now, were not familiar with the work of each other, despite working in the same fields and in the same area.

Funding enabled in 2022-23

Healthy Weight HIT helped secure £603,457 in 2022-23 for research, improving outcomes and addressing health inequalities.