John Wilding, Professor of Medicine in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease at the University of Liverpool, is an obesity specialist and clinical lead for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR):
“Today is the third day of the week long national ‘JanUary’ campaign (formerly known as National Obesity Awareness Week). The campaign, which has the strapline ‘do something good for U’, focuses on what individuals and families can do to ensure or improve their health.
However, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) almost a quarter of people in the North West don’t know the difference between being obese and overweight.
In spite of this confusion, the same survey shows people in the region have a clear understanding of some of the main causes of obesity including; over eating and lack of exercise.
But with rising levels of obesity in the UK, public understanding is not solving the problem.
We know that obesity is a significant factor in many of the long-term conditions that result in ill health and premature death, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
It is vital that we find more effective ways to help people lose weight and to prevent them from gaining weight in the first place if we are to stem the tide of obesity-related illness.
A number of obesity related clinical research trials regularly take place across the North West region, including one currently at Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The study is contributing to a large international trial testing a new injectable medicine to help people lose weight.
As with most studies that relate to obesity and weight loss, there is always a high level of interest among potential patient participants. But luckily for people in the North West, more studies are planned and I believe further research can help develop the debate around obesity in the future.
Clinical research plays a vital role in developing better and more cost effective treatments for people who are obese. By learning more about the reasons for weight gain we can help develop long-term solutions for the causes and development of the condition.
To find out more about the clinical research into obesity being supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), visit: www.crn.nihr.ac.uk/bigchallenge or search #nihrBIGchallenge on Twitter.
To find out more about how you can get involved in clinical research trials in the North West area relating to obesity and other specialties, visit: https://www.crn.nihr.ac.uk/north-west-coast/about/”