Preventing childhood obesity in the UK, with a focus on South Asian children

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Psychology

Abstract

We plan to develop a package of activities to prevent obesity among children. The activities will be tested among children aged 5 to 7 in primary schools in Birmingham.
Obesity is a growing global problem among children and adults. Its health consequences include increased risk of heart disease, cancers and diabetes. In the UK, people of South Asian (SA) origin are at particularly high risk, but this group have not been included in previous research. We know that targeting children is a good way of preventing the rising trend.
Previous research has had limited success, partly because less attention was paid to the planning process. Our study takes a new approach to planning, focusing on environmental factors and including children of SA background.
We will first gather information from people in schools and surrounding communities, and combine this with information from the scientific literature. Through this process we aim to define activities that the target community perceives to be effective, important and acceptable.
We will then test the package among children from four primary schools. We will assess the effects and refine the activities by comparing these children with children from other similar schools who did not have these activities.

Technical Summary

Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases and is an increasing problem. Prevention is best targeted at children. However, systematic reviews have found limited high quality data on the effectiveness of interventions tested. In the UK, the rapidly increasing South Asian (SA) population is at particular risk of obesity and its consequences. However, no previous intervention studies have targeted this population. The aim of this study is to develop an intervention which can later be used in a definitive RCT. We plan to undertake an environmental analysis to identify modifiable factors contributing to obesity, plan and undertake an exploratory trial for preventing obesity in SA children, and pilot the measurement instruments for a definitive trial. The intervention package will be developed using the MRC framework for complex interventions, focusing on environmental factors.
 
Description Centre for Obesity Research, Birmingham University, PhD Studentship
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Birmingham 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2010 
End 10/2014
 
Description Guangzhou Municipal Health Bureau
Amount ¥1,000,000 (CNY)
Organisation Guangzhou Municipal Health Bureau 
Sector Public
Country China
Start 09/2013 
End 06/2015
 
Description MRC DTA PhD studentship
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2009 
End 10/2011
 
Description NIHR PDG
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 06/2018
 
Description NIHR Public Health Research Board
Amount £447,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 14/185/13 
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2016 
End 06/2018
 
Description NIHR, HTA, Project Grant
Amount £2,600,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 06/85/11 
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Department Health Technology Assessment Programme (HTA)
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2010 
End 10/2015
 
Description South Birmingham PCT, Evaluation grant
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation South Birmingham Primary Care Trust (PCT) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2010 
End 06/2011
 
Description Wellcome Seed Fund
Amount £89,236 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 10/2018
 
Title BEACHeS dataset 
Description Dataset of measures on ~600 south Asian children over two time periods, which can be used to address a number of research questions 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2007 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact A number of student projects (8 medical student projects, 2 BMed Sci projects, 4 MPH projects) have been undertaken based on the findings of this study. 2 PhD students also used data arising from this database for their theses. A recent publication led by colleagues in Edinburgh is based on analysis of data from this dataset. Another colleague used the dataset to do analysis which was presented at an international conference. 
 
Title CADET- south Asian version 
Description 24-hour semi-quantified dietary assessment tool suitable for south Asian children that was validated as part of this study. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We now have a dietary assessment tool that can be simply applied in epidemiological studies involving south Asian children. This allows quantification of dietary intake, including assessment of whole foods and nutrients. 
 
Description Childhood obesity prevention in China 
Organisation Guangzhou Center for Disease Control
Country China 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Co-investigator for a funded study: "Epidemiological study of childhood obesity correlate impacting factors and control and prevention in Guangzhou city". I contributed to the design and planning of the application.
Collaborator Contribution Successfully applied to Guangzhou Municipal Health Bureau to fund the project
Impact The proposal has now been funded, and the study is underway. This involves collaboration with the CDC in Guangzhou.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Collaborator for NIHR programme grant application: "Development and evaluation of interventions for the prevention of childhood obesity in a multi-ethnic population: the Born in Bradford NHS Research Programme" 
Organisation University of Bradford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Shared experience of using the MRC framework for Complex interventions in our study, and the lessons learnt that could be shared and used to improve their study plans. I commented on the draft proposal.
Impact The Programme grant was successful and funded.
Start Year 2007
 
Description Relationship between sleep duration and obesity in children 
Organisation University of Birmingham
Department College of Life and Environmental Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We administered a questionnaire to parents and children to obtain a measure of sleep duration, to combine with other planned measures.
Collaborator Contribution Added an instrument on sleep duration and quality, which was administered alongside other measures, and is being used for developing new publications
Impact PhD student project, Medical student projects, draft manuscripts for publication, and others in preparation
Start Year 2008
 
Description BUZZ magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Article for the University of Birmingham monthly news magazine, highlighting the project and work being done.

Enquiries from a number of staff and students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Every Child Matters magazine (Schools publication) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Publication is disseminated to all primary schools in the UK

A number of people have been in touch to ask for copies of the article
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description NCRI conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Panel member for plenary session at NCRI conference. The audience included general public and professionals attending the conference. The panel discussion was for half an hour.

Questions from the audience that were answered
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description PCTs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentations to PCTs, local NHS conferences, local obesity prevention groups outlining the work being done

Supported development of PCT obesity strategies Developed further collaborations, and plans to submit research bids with one PCT.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2008,2009
 
Description Radio interview -Ed Doolan show 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Took part in hour long radio talk show on obesity in local west midlands radio.

Interest from some members of public
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009