Westminster Health Forum

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Next steps for healthy weight management in England - the new obesity strategy, primary care interventions, innovation in support and public engagement, and the role of industry and technology

September 2020


Price: £95 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***


This conference focuses on next steps for healthy weight management in England, bringing together key stakeholders and policymakers.


The discussion at a glance:


  • the Government’s overall approach - its policy drive aimed at countering obesity:
    • what it means for stakeholders
    • the potential impact on public health
  • the Tackling obesity strategy - which sets out plans and actions including:
    • the Better Health campaign - launched by PHE, which includes access to resources such as the free NHS 12-week weight loss plan app, as well as new advertising and partnerships
    • support - expansion of healthy weight management services available through the NHS, building on commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan
    • regulation and public information - encouraging healthier food choices and restriction of HFSS promotions, and banning their advertisement before 9pm on TV and online
    • training - developing staff to become healthy weight coaches, which primary care networks will be able to access through PHE
    • access - increasing the availability to specialist support, with GPs being incentivised to refer patients through the Quality and Outcomes Framework
  • COVID-19:
    • impact - how the pandemic has affected healthy weight management:
      • changing habits - reports showing an increase in comfort eating and weight gain during lockdown
      • added risks - evidence that obesity is a key factor underlying more severe COVID-19 symptoms in individuals
    • what can be learned - the pressures encountered and the way support services have adapted, and options for future clinical and organisational practice:
      • awareness - capturing the public mood, with the health risks posed by obesity more front-of-mind
      • public information - future policy, practice and public health messaging
      • extra support - what might be required for those receiving and delivering services in the wake of the pandemic

The discussion in detail:


  • primary care:
    • patient engagement - increasing effectiveness and identifying those most at risk
    • specialist referrals - their use of as part of the obesity strategy
    • personalised care - and next steps in the delivery of lifestyle management support, including remotely
  • training - developing staff to become healthy weight coaches, and ensuring the confidence of primary care staff in raising healthy weight discussions with patients and providing advice
  • integration across local health systems - resource sharing, addressing variation of care in local areas, and utilising population health methods
  • childhood weight - developing online resources and strategies for local authorities, schools, community services and the third sector to support children and their households
  • public information:
    • weight management and obesity messaging - PHE’s recommendations and the way forward for implementation, including how to maximise the reach of the Better Health Campaign
    • learning from past public health campaigns - how they can inform messages on weight management and obesity, as the Strategy looks to learn lessons from tackling smoking
  • innovation - accessibility and usability of resources for patients, maintaining access to support during the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring patient safety and data security
  • the weight loss and food and drink industries:
    • their role - in supporting safe management of healthy weight and encouraging healthy eating and lifestyle options
    • engagement - what will be needed to secure their effective involvement with the new campaigns and policy initiatives, as they look to overcome sectoral challenges resulting from COVID-19
    • sector initiatives - the wider role that industry can play in supporting the government strategy and helping create an environment that encourages healthy choices
  • the NHS Health Check review:
    • uptake - how can it be increased, and developing more personalised interventions from the service
    • prevention - ensuring the effectiveness of the Health Check’s role in early identification of those needing guidance
  • health inequalities
    • policy options - next steps for improving access to weight management support in deprived areas and across society
    • affordability - with findings from Demos that as many as 20m people struggle with access or the cost of healthy food, leading to calls for government subsidies
    • population health - developing methods to help prevent people from falling through the net

Further developments that are relevant to the discussion:


  • the National Food Strategy - with the recently published Part One:
    • the country’s eating habits - and how these can be improved
    • recommendations - and supporting the actions within the new government strategy
    • Part Two - expected in 2021 which will include the systemic interventions needed in the food system
  • Hungry for Change: fixing the failures in food - the report from the House of Lords Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment:
    • calling for government to ensure healthy and sustainable diets are available to all
    • recommendations on food insecurity, the benefits system, HFSS food restrictions, funding and support for disadvantaged children, and oversight of a national food strategy
  • Eat Out to Help Out - warnings that the Government’s scheme - which includes several fast food chains - risks undermining the new obesity strategy
  • Time to solve childhood obesity - Professor Dame Sally Davies’s report citing the importance of advice by health professionals to families around weight in obesity prevention
  • Public Health England findings and plans:
    • National child measurement programme (NCMP): trends in child BMI - highlighting health inequalities with rising childhood obesity found to be most prevalent in deprived areas
    • PHE Strategy 2020 to 2025 - prioritising healthier weight and diets
    • COVID-19: understanding the impact on BAME communities - on the importance of obesity and diabetes as risk factors and calling action to tackle circumstances leading to health inequalities
  • the Marmot Review 10 Years On - citing widening health inequalities and the geographical variance
  • support and oversight - calls improvements in advice, access and delivery of evidence-based weight loss support and establishment of a new independent food watchdog to oversee these measures
  • the NHS Healthier You Diabetes Prevention Programme - those at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes to be fast-tracked onto this online tool designed to support individuals with weight loss
  • NHS ‘Soup and shake’ diet plan - recently introduced by Government across ten regions to tackle the rise of Type 2 diabetes, following successful trials
  • The Health of the Nation: A Strategy for Healthier Longer Lives report - from the APPG for Longevity calling for a drive to prevent conditions associated with obesity in supporting longer healthy life

The agenda:


  • Delivering goals within the context of healthy weight management policy
  • Assessing the effectiveness of interventions to tackle childhood obesity
  • Improving interventions and quality of advice in primary care settings
    • Provision of personalised, accessible and quality advice to patients
    • Healthcare workforce education and training
    • Integrating healthy weight management across local health systems
  • Lessons in changing behaviour from effective public health campaigns
  • Supporting access to healthy weight guidance for children and families
  • A case study from Leeds - strategies for school children to achieve a healthy weight in Leeds
  • Innovation and support for service users - technology access and usability, safety and data protection, and the roles of industry, local community services and employers in improving population health

Policy officials attending:


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.


It’s certainly the case with this one. Places have been reserved by officials from DHSC; Defra; Food Standards Agency; MHCLG; HM Treasury; HM Revenue & Customs and the National Audit Office.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***


  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles