The Trustees of OEN UK apply their wide experience of working in the field of obesity to set the strategic direction for the network. In this blog series we meet the Trustees who have developed the OEN UK Strategic Plan 2020-2023. In the first post in the series, Professor Rachel Batterham, founding member and Chair of OEN UK, introduces the new 3-year Strategic Plan.

The Obesity Empowerment Network, OEN UK, was founded in 2015 to improve the health and lives of people affected by overweight and obesity through collaboration between people affected by obesity and professionals working in the field.

Nothing About us without Us

The principle of collaboration between patients and professionals is at the heart of the Network and is encapsulated in the Network’s motto ‘nothing about us, without us.’ 

The Network exists to empower the voice of people affected by obesity to ensure those affected influence the development of obesity related policy, research and services.

Our Commitments

We are a Network of individuals who are aware, from a professional or personal perspective, of the challenges that people living with excess weight face and are therefore committed to:

  • Increasing awareness that obesity is a chronic serious medical condition and thereby shifting the dialogue from one of blame to solution
  • Advocating for nationwide obesity prevention and treatment strategies, and improving access to the healthcare and treatment individuals with obesity deserve
  • Ending weight-bias and discrimination
  • Ensuring that the voice of people living with obesity is represented and empowering people affected by overweight and obesity to become patient advocates

Overcoming Stigma

Stigma is oppressive, operating through the structures and systems of societies with insidious effect. It is much harder for a stigmatised group to be able to see their value, or the power of their voice. It is much harder for a stigmatised group to believe that they should be able to access treatment on the same basis as any other member of society, and to believe that their perspective should matter to those providing their healthcare. Stigma means that the stigmatised group are less able to fight against the discrimination they face. I am very aware, along with many others, that this is the reality for people living with obesity. 

OEN UK is working to change this by empowering the voice of people living with obesity. We do this through empowering people with obesity to become strong patient advocates who work with policy-makers, researchers and clinicians to improve the healthcare available for people with obesity in the UK.

Our Strategic Direction

We are aware that the Network is of benefit to people living with obesity, to professionals working in the field, and to the general public. We want people affected by excess weight, professionals, and the general public to know what OEN stands for, what our vision is and how we are achieving it, so that they too can get on board with our mission and benefit from the Network. 

So, I am delighted to announce the launch of the OEN UK Strategic Plan 2020-2023. The plan lays out how OEN UK will achieve its mission and harness the potential of our growing Network to improve the health and lives of people living with obesity over the next three years. I am enormously excited about what we can achieve together.

Join us

We invite you to join us in our mission. Please take time to explore our website at oen.org.uk where you will find our new strategic direction clarified, and where you can sign-up to join the Network and start receiving monthly updates. 

Together we can improve the health and lives of people living with overweight and obesity.

Professor Rachel Batterham is Head of the Centre for Obesity Research, Department of Medicine, University College London and Special Advisor on Obesity to the Royal College of Physicians.