Obesity and Food Practices Research in ScHARR
In the last few years, the Section has seen the successful completion and publication of a number of research projects in the area of obesity and food. Lindsay Blank, Paul Bissell and Liddy Goyder (plus Heather Clark) led two of the strands of the £1.2m Leverhulme-funded "Changing Families, Changing Food" research programme (led by Professor Peter Jackson in Geography) which explored issues relating to inequalities, food choice and obesity. Obesity and weight management are significant themes within the NIHR-funded Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care (SY CLAHRC). This is a major £20 million, five-year partnership between the NHS and the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University, and Paul Bissell is the principal investigator of the obesity theme. Key aspects of this latter programme are described below.
NIHR CLAHRC for South Yorkshire - Obesity Theme Research Areas
1. Cohort Study & Trials Facility
The current priority of this theme is to set up a cohort to study the trajectory of weight and health in south Yorkshire, with a particular emphasis on quality of life and service utilization. The study is in the process of recruiting up to 20,000 adults (16+) across south Yorkshire and will survey their changing use of different modalities of treatment for managing weight related issues. We will also collect data on their quality of life, employment history and other socio-demographic factors in order to understand how much obesity and overweight is costing the NHS across the region. The longitudinal nature of the study will allow us to track weight and service use in south Yorkshire at a population level and the cohort also provides the foundations for a trials facility for use by the research team and other researchers. This will make an important contribution to developing the evidence base for NHS commissioners whilst also providing an evaluation platform for new and innovative interventions for the prevention and treatment of obesity and overweight.
Dr Clare Relton,(email@example.com), leads this aspect of the work of the obesity theme and Dr Joanna Blackburn is the Research Fellow employed on this project,(firstname.lastname@example.org). Dr Christine Smith, (email@example.com) is the project manager and Dr Ruth Bacigalupo manages the themes responses to funding calls, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2. Understanding food choices and dietary decision making in families in South Yorkshire
Overweight and obesity represents a growing public health challenge within south Yorkshire and England more generally. Although it is not possible with certainty what the historical causes of the increasing rates of obesity are, we know that dietary decision making and energy expenditure are fundamental to this. What is increasingly clear, is that there is a clear social gradient in obesity and overweight, which is longstanding for women and increasingly apparent amongst men. Put simply, the lower ones socio-economic status (whether measured by education, income or employment) the more likely is you will be obese. We also know that that there is a strong link between parental obesity and childhood obesity and that much of our behavior with respect to food consumption patters and dietary decision making is habitual and rooted in the everyday routines of family life. This study seeks to shed light on these issues by undertaking longitudinal, qualitative and ethnographic work with families selected from contrasting socio-economic groups in South Yorkshire.
3. Exploring key stakeholders views about treatment options for obese adolescents
This qualitative project will seek to shed light on key stakeholders´ views about the acceptability and appropriateness of different modalities of treatment for obese adolescents (these include behavioural interventions, pharmacological treatments and more invasive treatments such as bariatric surgery or gastric bands). Three groups of stakeholders will be recruited: firstly, overweight / obese adolescents and their families; secondly, a group of researchers, academics and health care practitioners working within the obesity field; the general public.
4. Decisions about weight management
This qualitative project and literature review will seek to answer the question: does a patient 'decision aid (DA) improve decision quality processes and weight management outcomes for patients making choices about anti-obesity medication and would this be a cost effective intervention in primary care? Ian Brown, (Ian.Brown@shu.ac.uk), is leading on this aspect of research which is supported by the NIHR CLARHC for South Yorkshire.