Whole systems approach to obesity: a guide to support local approaches to achieving a healthier weight

Obesity is considered to be one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. It is having an impact on people’s lives now, across the generations, in terms of our quality of life, our risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and its association with common mental health disorders. Doing nothing is not an option.

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Systems working isn’t new to councils – many senior officers have been engaged in system leadership for many years. Even so, you may still have questions; what does it mean in practice for members throughout the organisation, how is it different to what you are already doing and how does it add value?

Local councils and the LGA collaborated with Public Health England and the Association of Directors of Public Health to help answer these questions through the development of a practical guide and resources for local areas to put in place a whole systems approach to tackling obesity.

The guide describes a six-phase process, which can be used flexibly by local authorities, taking into account existing structures, relationships and actions that are already in place to tackle obesity.