Dr Toni McAloon (Ulster), Prof Vivien Coates (Ulster) and Prof Donna Fitzsimons (QUB) – Halting the rise of Obesity: making every clinical contact count
Obesity is a major 21st century health challenge, contributing to chronic illnesses and presents a serious threat to world health. Obesity is associated with more deaths than underweight/malnutrition, imposing a serious financial burden on struggling health services. Northern Ireland has 60% prevalence of adult overweight/obesity and reduction is a priority in the HSC Commissioning Plan Direction 2016/17. Global, national and local guidelines aim to halt its rise by 2025; yet no country is on track to achieve these. Current obesity reduction strategies are failing; with professionals challenged to promote best practice. Clinicians’ beliefs/attitudes are potential barriers to implementing effective strategies. Whilst current research emphasises clinician anti-fat bias, there is no triangulation of bias with clinical outcomes to determine impact. This presentation presents innovative research addressing this deficit through estimating the degree of anti-fat bias in a multidisciplinary sample and examining associations with clinical behaviour. These findings break new ground and
Prof Marie Murphy (Ulster) – Sit Less – Move More. Reducing sedentary behaviour to improve health in overweight and obesity
There is strong relationship between time spent in sitting and many health outcomes including, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Sedentary behaviour is defined as waking activity with very low levels of energy expenditure and a sitting or reclining posture (SBRN 2012). In modern society sedentary behaviour in adults has become increasingly prevalent with TV viewing and other screen-focused behaviours, prolonged sitting in the workplace, and time spent sitting in cars taking up most of our waking hours. Objective data suggests that UK men and women actually spend approximately 7.5 and 7 hours per day respectively being sedentary (Ekelund 2009). Conversely, interrupting sedentary time and/or replacing it with light-intensity activity has been shown to improve several markers of health. Obesity may act as a mediator between sedentary behaviours and negative health outcomes with more sedentary people more likely to become overweight and obese which then has an impact on health
Prof Alison Gallagher, Dr Angela Carlin and Prof Marie Murphy (Ulster) – Teenage girls heading for a lifetime of ill-health. Using the school environment to enhance health-related behaviours: shared experiences and suggested future approaches
Aside from home, children and adolescents spend more time in school than in any other setting. As such schools represent a key environment for promoting of health-related behaviours. Additionally, use of the school-setting has the potential to overcome health inequalities, as all children and adolescents are able to participate irrespective of socioeconomic status. Central to success is ensuring interventions are both effective as well as sustainable in the longer-term. It is important that policy makers, researchers and practitioners actively consult with their target population to gain an understanding of how best to promote the health-behaviour, as well as identify any barriers/ facilitators, thereby informing the content of future interventions. In the UK, children from Northern Ireland are least likely to meet current physical activity recommendations than their counterparts elsewhere. Transition from primary to second-level education represents a time when physical inactivity and sedentary behaviours may increase, especially in adolescent girls.
Dr Liz Simpson, Dr Marian McLaughlin and Prof Tony Cassidy (Ulster) – Health psychology: Behaviour change for health and well-being in adults and children in Northern Ireland
Reducing health inequalities and promoting well-being is a main focus for Government health policies in Northern Ireland. Many of the chronic health conditions that are prevalent in our society today, such as obesity, coronary heart disease and diabetes, all have one thing in common, they can be linked to poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, consumption of unhealthy foods and being sedentary. A number of health psychology researchers are working in the area of behaviour change within Northern Ireland. The aim of this seminar is to provide an overview of how health psychology theories are being used to design more effective interventions to improve health and well-being in different groups and across a range of health related behaviours. It is worth noting that some theories of behaviour change such as The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) has been endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as