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Obesity in the United Kingdom: 2010-2015 Policy on Obesity and Healthy Eating

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Executive Summary

The objective of this assignment is threefold. First of all, it is intended to analyze the available research so as to provide assessment of the magnitude of obesity in the United Kingdom and to consider if the current trend might increase or reduce in future. Secondly, it is to review the 2010-2015 policy on obesity and healthy eating and evaluate on its effectiveness and the role of nurse community and other practitioners. Finally, it is to provide recommendations on the necessary changes that ought to put in place .According to the Foresight report in 2007, half of the United Kingdom population is expected to be obese by 2050 and it comes at a cost of $50 billion each year. Another report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre indicate that the levels of obesity in UK are on the rise among children and adults between 1993 and 2011.Within the overweight and obese ranges, Body Mass Index and increased numbers of people with raised waist circumferences have been included. This findings should be taken seriously since they are backed by another study from University of Glasgow. The government policy to combat this problem is the 2010-2015 policy on obesity and healthy eating. It was established in 2007 and its major role that is carried out by nurse communities and other practitioners is to provide advice on healthy eating and physical activity. The health belief model/framework of health promotion could work well in such scenarios as it focusses on the change of unhealthy behaviors to reduce obesity.


According to research by the Health and Social Care Information Centre of obesity, the levels of obesity are on the rise in England. From the year 199 to 2011, the research by Douglas, Bhaskaran, Batterham and Smeeth established that majority of women and men in England have BMIs that are outside the normal ranges. The normal BMI range for adults is 18.5 to 24.9 (Douglas, Bhaskaran, Batterham, and Smeeth, 2015). The same study states that 31% of boys and 28% of girls between 2-15 years were classified as either being overweight or obese. The figures from the Health Data of Obesity coincides with the data from Health Survey of England 2010 which states that 26.1% of adults or above 16 years old are obese while the proportion of healthy adults is 30.9% for men and 40.4% in women (Flegal, Kruszon-Moran, Carroll, Fryar, and Ogden, 2016). Another study by the by the University of Glasgow established that 40% of women and men in the UK can be described as being obese. The same study stated that those people who were analyzed indicated increase in the waist circumference with age in relation to increased BMI (Holben and Taylor, 2015). In this assignment, there will be an analysis of the scale of obesity in United Kingdom, an evaluation of the 2010-2015 policy on obesity and healthy eating and the role of different healthcare practitioners in combating obesity in UK (Jebb and White, 2018). Finally, there will be recommendations on the changes that ought to be put in place to further bolster the already existing strategies in reducing the prevalence of the condition.


Local and national statistics of obesity.

The Health and Social Care Informatics recently published a report in which there were reduced cases of obesity among children in 2012/13 (22.2%) as compared to 2011/12 (22.6%) and 2006/7 (22.9%)(Johnson, Li, Kuh, and Hardy, 2015).According to the International comparison, the United Kingdom is still ranked as the poorest in terms of obesity. The research was conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and it was established that 23% of boys and 22% of girls are obese (King, Glanz, and Patrick, 2015) .The study also noted that the rate of consumption of fruits and vegetables among the children in Denmark, Norway and Portugal is higher and this reflects the reason why obesity is relatively low in those countries.

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The increasing trends in obesity in United Kingdom necessitated the establishment of the 2010-2015 policy on obesity and healthy eating .The aim of this policy is to offer advice on healthy diets as well as the importance of physical exercise (Lake, Henderson, and Townshend). At the moment, physical education is part of the curriculum in all public schools and it is even expanding to other institutions (Ong, Sahota, Tan, and Marshall, 2014). This policy has made the number of obese and overweight children who are in their final year of primary schools fall considerably (Mejia, Lightstone, Basurto-Davila, Morales, and Sturm, 2015). This therefore means that the policy has acted in the best interest of the citizens. There are just minor recommendations that ought to be implemented to make the policy more efficient and they will be discussed later in this assignment.

Public health policy 2010-2015

In England, 61.9 % of adults and 28% of children are obese. This is a public health issue since research link obesity to diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and different types of cancers. Obesity costs the NHS more than $5 billion each year (Müller, 2018). It is for this reason that the 2010-2015 policy of obesity and health eating was set up. This is a policy that states that by 2020, there should be downward trend in obesity among adults as well as children. The call to action under this policy include setting out plans to involve the whole society in reducing obesity ,stating that obesity is everyone’s business and each individual should therefore change their behaviors so that they can reduce their weight. This policy also states that different partners such as business, government have a crucial role in reducing obesity. The policy also states that dealing with obesity among children and adults is an important undertaking and finally, the policy states that the country should reduce the calories consumed by 5 billion each year.

Interventions in the policy

There are different interventions under the 2010-2015 policy of obesity and healthy eating. The change4life program, consistent front of pack labelling and the Public Health Responsibility deal are some of the major interventions. The change4life intervention was implemented through advising people on healthy diets and physical activity. This intervention has been successful since by 2012, research indicate that the level of obesity had reduced from 61.9% to 58% in adults (Zilanawala et al., 2014). Subsequently, the level of obesity in children dropped from 28% to 26% in the same year. The figures are expected to reduce further by 2020.

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The public Health Responsibility Deal was implemented through encouraging responsible business. Scientists state that this deal had 4 major networks that include alcohol, food, and health and finally work and physical activity. This intervention program was a success since by 2013, the rates of obesity among children had reduced by 6% and 3% respectively (Müller, 2018). Finally, the consistent front pack labelling was implemented through indicating the contents of the food on the pack so that consumers are able to make wise decisions on what they should consume. This program has also been a success since it has enabled adults and children reduce consumption of foods with excess fats and sugars and this has in return reduced obesity in adults and children by 9% and 5% respectively as of 2013.

Evaluation of the roles of nurse community practitioners and their responsibilities.

Nurse communities and other healthcare practitioners have crucial roles that can assist in reducing the prevalence of obesity among adults and children in United Kingdom. The nurse community have been on the fore front to ensure that people make healthier choices through eating and drinking in a healthy manner as well as being more active. This has been carried out through organizing forums and public health campaigns. (Flegal, Panagiotou, and Graubard, 2015). Through the change4life initiative, the practitioners have advised people on healthy diet such as fruits and vegetables (Müller, 2018). The nurse community have also improved the labelling of food and drink to assist people make healthy decisions .They achieve this by ensuring businesses indicate the ingredients of the food on the food pack so that citizens can reduce consumption of foods with excess fats and sugars. The nurse and other healthcare practitioners under this policy have encouraged different businesses on the street to include calorie information on their menus so that people are able to make healthy choices (Smith and Smith, 2016). They have also been advising people on how much physical activity they should engage in by educating them on the importance of physical exercise through public health campaigns.

The Public Health Responsibility Deal was set up under the 2010-2015 policy on obesity and healthy eating for businesses and organizations to make it easy for everyone to make healthy choices. This deal has four different networks that include alcohol, food, health at work and finally physical activity (Zilanawala et al., 2014). This networks have a collective pledge that businesses are encouraged to sign up to. Under this deal, community practitioners encourage citizens to eat more healthily through reducing consumption of harmful ingredients like fats and salt (Sisson, Krampe, Anundson, and Castle, 2016). People are also encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables to attain theb5A DAY target. Putting calorie information on menus and assisting people consume less calories has also been a role of the nurse communities and practitioners. All this activities are carried out through different forums and seminars. The nurse community and other healthcare practitioners have also been working with other organizations to ensure that people are living healthily in United Kingdom by ensuring that they get the best services. They also encourage local councils to increase the budget for public health (Zilanawala et al., 2014). The community nurses and other healthcare professionals under the 2010-2015 policy on obesity and healthy eating have arguably played important roles in reducing the prevalence of obesity among adults and children in United Kingdom.

Health promotion model that can be applied

The Health Belief Model is the best health promotion framework that can be used to reduce obesity in the United Kingdom (Ling et al., 2012). This type of model is used to explain as well as predict the future changes in health behaviors of individuals. This model defines perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits cues to action and finally self-efficacy (Tillin et al., 2014). In this context, obesity is as a result of unhealthy lifestyle such as poor diet and lack of physical exercise. Since this model targets both social as well emotional health challenges like nutrition and physical activity, it can be incorporated effectively to reduce the prevalence of obesity in the United Kingdom.

Conclusion and recommendations

The levels of obesity have risen in the last 20 years in the United Kingdom. There should be concerns due to the existing evidence that there would be increasing BMI as well as waist circumference as individuals get older. This generally implies that there will be a decline in health outcomes in coming years with increased diagnoses of conditions such as type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. There is the need to come up with different strategies that can avert this trend besides the different proposed recommendations.There are key recommendations that have been proposed by different studies to reduce obesity in the United Kingdom. The studies have proposed different schemes such as the change4life and hard hitting campaigns that are some to anti-smoking are needed. There is also the need for the general practitioners to engage with patients on obesity as well as weight management issues. This is in contrast with the Quality Outcomes Frameworks of 2013 that only encourage general practitioners to register obese people with no interventions. This framework is seen as unproductive and it should be made better by including indicators for obesity. There should be thorough training of healthcare professionals on how well to handle cases of obesity and weight management. The other recommendation is that the government should emphasize the importance of good hydration during weight management. This is because focus on health eating alone undermines the effect of good hydration. There is the need to introduce physical education in schools as well as promoting physical activity outside educational institutions. Finally, there should be initiatives that support individuals who are obese.


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