Making obesity everybody’s business: A whole systems approach to obesity

Obesity is considered to be one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Without action, the health of individuals will continue to suffer, health inequalities associated with obesity will remain and the economic and social costs will increase to unsustainable levels.

Obesity is a complex problem with a large number of different but often interlinked causes. No single measure is likely to be effective on its own in tackling obesity. To have a significant impact on obesity levels, it is clear that everybody needs to get involved. Local authorities are particularly well placed as the functions they are responsible for serve all generations in society and can directly influence people’s health.

This briefing, written in partnership with Public Health England and the Association of Directors of Public Health focuses on the Whole Systems Obesity programme, which will provide local authorities with a different approach to tackling obesity. The programme is exploring the evidence and local practice to develop guidance and tools to help councils set up a whole systems approach to obesity in their local area. This involves the whole local system of stakeholders, recognising that it is a problem that goes far beyond public health. It makes tackling obesity everybody’s business.