In April 2016, 30 individuals representing over 20 organisations from across Scotland indicated strong support for an alliance that would focus on the prevention of obesity and steps to tackle the obesogenic environment at event hosted by Obesity Action Scotland. The event was attended by academics and obesity researchers, charities including British Heart Foundation and Diabetes Scotland, NHS, NHS Health Scotland, Directors of Public Health, Food Standards Scotland, Scottish Academy and Royal Colleges, Obesity Action Scotland and other experts working in obesity prevention.
Drawing on attendees from the event, a planning group was established to lead the development of the alliance and define its priorities. The group agreed that the purpose of the Alliance was to collaborate to influence policy and practice on obesity prevention. The Alliance would include third sector, public sector, university and Royal College members. This would create a unified, influential and independent voice for action to prevent obesity.
With obesity as one of the biggest public health threats Scotland faces, an Alliance could have a significant impact on progressing policy on tackling obesity through a collaborative approach. In other priority areas, Alliances have been formed for alcohol and tobacco, and these have been successful in bringing added value to the public health campaign.
Over the coming months, I will be working with the planning group to formally set up an Obesity Alliance in Scotland and begin collaborative work at this key stage. Further updates on the development of the Alliance will be included on the Obesity Action Scotland website and in its newsletter.
Author: Shruti Jain, Alliance Co-ordinator