The challenge of challenging assumptions in the road to childhood obesity prevention.
Dr Fiona Gillison, University of Bath
LR2 43 Woodland Road, BS8 1UU
Every year, over 95% of English children are weighed and measured by public health teams in their first and final years of primary school. We know that childhood obesity interventions work better when parents are involved, and that many parents are not aware when a child is overweight - so why hasn’t the practice of raising awareness thorough providing feedback on a child’s weight status resulted in any meaningful difference in service use or obesity levels? And perhaps more importantly, why then have we not changed what we do? In this talk, I will present a series of studies undertaken to try and address these questions, exploring how theories of health communication and behaviour change could help to better engage parents, and what assumptions we may still need to challenge to move forward in childhood obesity prevention.
Dr. Fiona Gillison is a chartered Health Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Bath. Before undertaking a PhD, she worked in the NHS as a smoking cessation advisor and developed weight management clinics for people who put on weight after quitting, and has retained this applied focus in her research ever since. Her research involves the application of psychological theory to understanding behaviour change and designing interventions to prevent and treat obesity, both at the individual and broader policy levels. Fiona’s recent research has taken a more participatory approach, working with public health teams and members of the public to take a theoretically-informed approach to tackling some of the basic pragmatic issues (such as initial uptake and engagement) that often stop our state-of-the-art interventions from getting off the blocks.