41 Portland Place

On 21 September 2015 the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk and the European Healthy Lifestyle Alliance UK hosted a roundtable discussion at the Academy of Medical Sciences in central London.

At the roundtable experts from a range of sectors debated the role of national and local health policy in encouraging healthy lifestyles and combatting the obesity epidemic, against the backdrop of increased responsibility for public health moving under the remit of local authorities.

The ICCR’s Executive Director gave a brief presentation about the organisation and its work in Europe. The ICCR’s Scientific Director provided an analysis of some of the most important research on abdominal obesity and provided clear evidence of the need to focus on waist loss, not weight loss. Participants considered the scientific evidence surrounding the ICCR’s three pillars, Eat Well – the quality of the food we eat; Drink Well – the need to drink water rather than drinks containing high amounts of sugar; Move – the need for exercise in our daily routine. The group heard about the importance of focusing on all three elements in order to achieve meaningful change. Participants also considered the further support and action needed (in terms of themselves, their organisations and other organisations) in order to tackle obesity.

The key areas for action recommended by participants were:

  1. More needs to be done to help parents recognise whether their child is healthy and to educate them about healthy eating and drinking habits for children
  2. Evidence-based models for behaviour change should be made available to local authorities to help them run successful initiatives in their communities
  3. City planners should be supported to design built environments that are conducive to healthy lifestyles
  4. A UK champion or figurehead is needed to influence behaviour and encourage the population to take more responsibility for their health
  5. Businesses should be encouraged to promote healthy lifestyles to their workers
  6. There should be more healthy choices on the high street. Restaurants, takeaways and shops should be encouraged to have healthy foods on display, cook with healthier ingredients and display calorie content as much as possible
  7. More work needs to be done to understand the psychology behind overeating, and to educate people on how to change their habits and in particular to eat well, drink well, and move.

The roundtable was attended by the following people:

  • Kinvara Carey, General Manager, Natural Hydration Council
  • Jean-Claude Coubard , Executive Director, International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk
  • Jean-Pierre Després, Scientific Director, International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk
  • Cllr Gillian Ford, Deputy Chair, Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board
  • Oliver Francis Knowledge Broker, Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)
  • Tam Fry, Spokesman for National Obesity Forum and expert advisory team member of Action on Sugar
  • Geoff Gardner Programme Manager, Transport Behaviour, Transport for London
  • Professor Ian Givens, Professor of Food Chain Nutrition and Head of Food Production & Quality, University of Reading
  • Professor David Haslam, Chair, National Obesity Forum
  • Dr Eva Hrobonova, Acting Director of Public Health, Westminster City Council
  • Linda Main, Dietetic Adviser, HEART UK
  • Dr Colin Michie, Chair of the Nutrition Committee, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Professor Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Nick Wareham, Director of the MRC Epidemiology Unit and co-Director of the Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge
  • James Ford (facilitator), Managing Director for Health, Grayling
  • Victoria Mayman, Account Manager, Grayling

For further information on the roundtable, please contact Jean-Claude Coubard, Executive Director of the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk.