Obesity Review Group meeting note – 28 January 2013

The Obesity Review Group met on Monday 28 January at Board Room, Richmond House, Department of Health. The meeting was jointly chaired by Anna Soubry, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health, and Liz Woodeson.  Attached below are a summary of the meeting notes and actions.

Obesity Review Group 28 January 2013 – Agenda


Anna Soubry MP (Chair)
Prof Paul Aveyard
Will Blandamer
Louise Ansari
Dr Jessica Allen
Prof Chris Drinkwater
Prof David Haslam
Prof Andrew Hill
Sue Davies
Prof Nick Finer
Dr Susan Jebb
Paul Ogden (for Cllr Linda
Melanie Leech
Prof Ian Macdonald
Andrew Opie
Sanjay Pathak
Dr John Radford
Martin Smith
Prof Terence Stephenson
Carolyn West
Zoe Hellman
Paul Lincoln
Philip Insall
Dr Harry Rutter (invited)


Prof Jane Wardle
John Byrne
Catherine Collins
Prof Marie Murphy

Officials in attendance

Liz Woodeson (Chair)
Richard Cienciala
Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England


1.    Liz Woodeson welcomed attendees to the meeting and noted that
she would be acting as Chair until the Minister arrived.

2.    The Chair introduced Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health
Improvement and Population Health for Public Health England. Professor Fenton summarised his remit at Public Health England
(Paper A: PDF, 32K), and invited the Group’s views on how the new
organisation could best support local areas in tackling obesity.

3.    There was a wide-ranging discussion, with over-arching themes
including the need for PHE to support local areas by:

  • helping to make the case to local partners for taking action that will prevent and reduce obesity, for example by taking a ‘total place’ perspective that highlights benefits in terms of economic growth and employment
  • enabling local authorities to learn from the best and to harness the full range of their powers and responsibilities – including those relating to the wider determinants of health
  • supporting high quality commissioning of effective weight management services, as well as enabling action on obesity prevention
  • ensuring that primary care is engaged in local care pathways and maximising the potential of existing programmes – such as NHS Health Checks and the National Child Measurement
    Programme – to ensure people get the right advice and onward referral

4.    Professor Fenton thanked members for sharing their views and
experience and noted the importance of the points made. He added
that Public Health England’s approach to supporting local areas in
their new leadership role would include: a commitment to science,
evidence and research; a focus on inspiring and enabling excellent
practice, not performance management; and tackling health
inequalities as a priority.

5.    The Chair invited Dr Harry Rutter of the National Obesity
Observatory to give an overview of the latest national data on
levels of overweight and obesity in England (Paper B:PDF, 2625K). Dr Rutter noted that while there appears to be no rise in prevalence across children and adults, the levels remain high. He also noted: the
strong and increasing gradient in obesity prevalence against
deprivation for children; rising levels of severe obesity in older children; and the fact that around 1 million adults are morbidly

6.    Members made a number of points in response to the presentation.These included: the need to recognise the large variation in prevalence that can exist in small geographical areas; the existence of a similar gradient of health inequalities across other behavioural risk factors; and the potential for mining available data tounderstand more about the risk factors for obesity. Anna Soubry,
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health,
underlined the importance of recognising and addressing health

7.    The Group also commented on the response that may be requiredin the light of the latest data, including: ensuring access to effectiveweight management services as well as taking action to prevent obesity; considering what more can be done to raise awareness of the risks of maternal obesity; and making sure that GPs and other health professionals play an active role in identification andonward referral. Anna Soubry agreed that these issues should be explored further.

8.    The Chair invited members to share brief updates about work that was of interest to the wider Group. The Chair then thanked all
members for their contributions and closed the meeting.

Download:Paper C – Adult BMI thresholds in England (for information)




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