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New university campaign to tackle obesity

John Freeman
The University of Cumbria is representing the UK in a pan-European campaign to tackle child and adolescent obesity. The project, “In Form: campaign against child and adolescent obesity”, will take place over the next three years and has received funding from the European Union’s Public Health Programme.

The University is engaging with local communities in the North West and working with health, education and community professionals to implement projects to improve the diet and fitness.

The University’s first task is to create a library of research findings, policies, therapies and preventative actions to tackle obesity. The information will be gathered during the first phase of the project and will help shape and European guidance manual and the design and development of an accredited training programme for twenty professional ‘obesity’ trainers.

The project will include a pilot summer camp for children from eight partner countries and a ‘social’ marketing initiative aiming to encourage and enable children and adolescents to change dietary and activity patterns. The University of Cumbria team hope to the recruit children and adolescents to a pilot project that will enable them to create their own campaign to target their peer group.

“Obesity is a major challenge not just for the UK, but worldwide," says Vincent O’Brien, Principal Lecturer in Public Health at University of Cumbria (pictured above). "The EU has set objectives to reduce obesity and has turned to public health experts to create a wining strategy that will help educate and inform. This project is truly unique in that part of the awareness campaign will be developed by those we are trying to reach.

"The aim is to connect with children and teenagers by speaking to them in their own vernacular, and what better way to do that than enlist young people to create the campaign for us? The programme is a pan-European project and is a prestigious addition to our public health credentials, and we hope that it will be rolled out with great success.”