Dr Toni McAloon (Ulster), Prof Vivien Coates (Ulster) and Prof Donna Fitzsimons (QUB) –
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 contribute to the development and implementation of ‘Transforming Your Care’ agenda and future policies to reduce obesity and associated health care costs. This work is timely with the chief nurses of the 5 countries, including the Republic of Ireland, calling for professional action on obesity reduction as a 2016 priority.
This seminar took place on 14 February 2018