Almost two thirds of UK adults are now classified as overweight or obese, making this a substantial issue for our health services. In the Cornwall region the proportion of adults overweight or obese contains pockets of the highest in the South-West and overall is slightly above the national average.
Many of the health-related increased risk through carrying excess weight can be reduced by weight loss. However, it is well recognised that sustained weight loss is difficult to achieve without support. Cornwall hosts services for individuals who are looking for support to manage a healthy bodyweight, although pathways into those services, and public perceptions of them are not clearly understood.
Given the geographically dispersed population in the Cornwall region, understanding barriers to access and potential solutions from the local population viewpoint is essential to inform future improvements. This study aims to investigate individuals understanding of the current pathways into weight management support and weight loss treatments.
The research aims to investigate the challenges faced by Cornish residents, who have overweight or obesity, in accessing support to lose and maintain a healthy weight.
Our primary objectives are:
- To understand perceptions of current support and identify patient pathways into weight management services.
- To capture feedback from residents on the benefits of services and any potential barriers to access.
- To identify any specific access challenges for Cornish residents, including rural geography, health inequalities and the current care structure.
We have developed an online survey which only take a few minutes to complete. This will give us an oversight of resident’s access and barriers to gaining support with weight issues. It will also offer an opportunity for any resident who would like to share further thoughts through an in-depth interview with the research team.
Using this approach the project will provide a clear understanding of how these services are currently used, help identify opportunities for improvement and identify good practice that could increase access, and reduce inequalities.
This research will help to understand how Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly services are currently accessed and identify how they may be made more accessible for everyone in the region. Findings will allow us to understand perceptions of current support and identify areas where improvements may help commissioning teams to recognise and select the most effective delivery methods for their residents.
We also plan to share that data widely with our health services research colleagues who have been frustrated by the limited data available in this field of research. We refer to the All Party Parliamentary Commission report of 2018 on obesity services who call for a national obesity strategy to strengthen existing services and replicate best practice across the country. Our findings will feed into this wider strategy by helping catalogue current practice so that we can begin to identify what ‘best practice’ should be shared.
The survey is now closed and the project team are in the stages of reporting on their findings. Look out for an upcoming publication to learn the results.
- Sophie Westwood - Lead Researcher, University of Plymouth
- Lorraine Long, Senior Commissioning Manager, long term conditions and cancer, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board
- Tracey Barter, Diabetes Project Manager, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board
- Marc Neeld, Healthy Lifestyles Lead, Public Health Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
- Ruth Goldstein, Deputy Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
- Jeremy Gilbert, Consultant Practitioner in Obesity, Metabolic and Bariatric surgery, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
- Mr Steve Perry, external PPIE