We are sad to announce that Iris Mcmillan, OEN UK champion, passed away on 26th February 2020. Iris, a former solicitor, served on numerous government and health sectors committees. She fought for people affected by overweight and obesity to have appropriate treatment and for recognition of the detrimental effects of weight stigma. She will be sadly missed.
Professor Rachel Batterham, Chair of OEN and Nadya Isack were invited to speak at an event at the RCP on March 10th 2020 that was attended by about 80 people from Camden CCG. The aim was to encourage all healthcare and social care professionals to be able to talk sensitively about weight. Dr Batterham presented an overview of the causes of obesity whilst Nadya Isack, OEN Champion eloquently shared her experience of living with obesity and the stigma that she has faced.
At this successful event patient organisations, healthcare professionals, researchers and funders came together to raise awareness of obesity, highlight that obesity has many complex causes and the importance of eliminating weight stigma. It included talks from patients living with obesity and expert healthcare professionals with opportunities to ask questions.
The event included contributions from Obesity Empowerment Network (OEN) Champions, Jenny Rosborough (Jamie Oliver Ltd), Andre Goddard, President of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), Dr Chris Van Tullekan (Operation Ouch).
Rachel Batterham, Professor of Obesity, Diabetes & Endocrinology and Chair of OEN hosted the event and commented, “how utterly proud I am of our OEN UK Champions empowering voice this week. The voice our champions made everyone there listen not only with their ears but with their hearts. and I have no doubt empowered members of the audience who were living with obesity or have relatives/friends who are to seek support as well as educated healthcare professionals”.
Nadya Isaac, OEN champion reflected that it was “an inspiring and motivational day. 4 OEN champions were on stage reiterating the fact that Obesity is a complex disease and that the narrative of “eat less and move More” is stigmatizing and completely incorrect as a treatment method”.
Nadya felt that by speaking openly about obesity in a positive and compassionate way, OEN Champions were able to educate and inform the public about living with obesity and the measures that are being taken to raise the awareness of this disease.
UCLH Main Reception
4th March 10am to 4 pm
Hosted by Prof Rachel Batterham
Patient organisations, healthcare professionals, researchers and funders are coming together to raise awareness of obesity, highlight that obesity has many complex causes and the importance of eliminating weight stigma.
Talks from patients living with obesity and expert healthcare professionals with opportunities to ask questions.
Obesity Empowerment Network (OEN) Champions @10:20 &14:30.
Jenny Rosborough (Jamie Oliver Ltd) @10:50.
President of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) @12:30.
Dr Chris Van Tullekan (Operation Ouch) @14:00.
Organisations: OEN UK, Obesity UK, EASO, British Obesity & Metabolic Surgery Society. RCP. British Dietetic Association, British Psychological Society, Rosetrees Trust, Liver Foundation, Jamie Oliver Foundation Ltd, Action on Sugar.
OEN has appointed Flora Nicholson to the position of Executive Director.
On her appointment, Flora said: “I have such deep admiration for the work of OEN, and feel very excited to be joining such an inspiring and talented group of people. With our ongoing passion and dedication, and working in partnership with other organisations in the UK, including members of the Obesity Health Alliance, I know there is no limit to what we can achieve. There are so many people who need our support, and we are in a unique position to be part of the public debate on obesity and influence change”.
Flora has an excellent track record of working in both the non- profit and private sectors. She started her career in the strategy team of Fortune 500 company Sodexo, and subsequently worked for the British Red Cross, delivering planning and monitoring support for 50 business units and leading the review of the organisational strategy. She joined Cancer Research UK in 2013, where she held a range of positions, including Strategy Manager and Senior Volunteering Manager. She delivered key projects for the cancer charity, including a new strategy to improve recruitment and retention for the organisation’s 40,000 volunteers. She also supported the creation of a strategic partnership between Cancer Research UK’s Communities Directorate (Events, Volunteer Fundraising, Retail), and the Policy and Information Directorate.
In the past year Flora has worked as a management consultant, most recently supporting the British Heart Foundation. She has also been a Trustee for Faiths Together in Lambeth, a South London charity promoting understanding and dialogue between different faith groups.
Obesity Empowerment Network UK is in an exciting stage of development and we are looking for a passionate and dedicated Executive Director to join our team. The Executive Director’s role will be to steer the organisation in coordination with the Board of Trustees and the volunteer OEN Champions.
This is a ‘roll up your sleeves’ kind of job as the Executive Director will be the only member of staff at OEN – but not for long! With growth on the horizon we envisage the Executive Director taking on more management responsibility in the future.
For a full job description and further details please visit the Charity Job website.
To apply, please email your CV and cover letter to email@example.com by Wednesday 5 December 2018.
Shortlisted candidates will be notified before Christmas and interviews will take place on Tuesday 15 January 2019. Please note that this role is remote with frequent travel to London for meetings.
By Maggie Clinton, Obesity Empowerment Network UK Champion and Trustee
I am so honoured and excited at the prospect of being involved in events recognising the importance to developing a united worldwide approach to reducing the prejudice and stigma associated with obesity.
I submitted some personal reflections about two painful experiences I have had in relation to employment. These appear to have caught the attention of a number of newspapers and TV channels. As a result I gave a telephone interview to the Daily Express and had face-to-face interviews for BBC1 breakfast show and Sky news. I made sure that I mentioned Obesity Empowerment Network UK and I really hope that this part is not edited out. I want to get the message that OEN UK is a voice for people affected by overweight and obesity who want to improve.
Delegates have come from all around the world and it is fair to say that the majority have suffered from stigma and prejudice because of their size and weight. There are 20 patient representatives, speakers from patients groups and expert speakers and facilitators from World Obesity Federation.
The summit has a number of aims but in the main it is about the importance of the patient voice, advocacy and directly influencing policy-makers globally.
Tomorrow is a full day with a number of working groups looking at how to engage people living with obesity. I am particularly looking forward to the training session focusing upon engaging with policy-makers. There will be so much more to tell you in my next blog.
I am so proud of how far OEN UK has come from the first meeting back in October 2015. Many of the delegates know who we are and those that don’t, they want to know how we have come so far in such a short time. The answer of course is easy.
Maggie’s OEN’s recipe:
- A solid foundation of professionals.
- A large spoonful of champions.
- A consistent flow of commitment.
- A growing confidence to speak and be heard.
- Peeling off the shame.
- A large dollop of self-belief and empowerment.
- Improved access and equity of services for all.
Nothing about us without us
For Further details if interested in OEN UK Champion role email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity launched a report on Tuesday 15th May 2018, Attlee Suite, Portcullis House. The report highlights that the NHS is failing people with obesity. A survey conducted by the Group found that four out of ten people with obesity found it difficult to access lifestyle and prevention services. 88% of respondents said they have been stigmatised, criticised or abused as a result of their obesity.
The Group has called for:
- A national obesity strategy, bringing together different government departments, to ensure children are protected from junk food and adults with obesity who seek help from their GP have access to advice and treatment. Access to effective obesity services is currently a postcode lottery, with decisions on funding for obesity services being made by local commissioners. A whole-system approach with government backing, they said, would make action more likely.
- The Government to lead or support efforts by the clinical community to investigate whether obesity should be classified as a disease in the UK, and what this would mean for the NHS and other services.
- The Government to commission or support the development of a thorough, peer-reviewed cost benefit analysis of earlier intervention and treatment of patients with obesity.
OEN UK Champions Angela Astles and Paul Chesworth appeared on BBC News recently to discuss their experience of obesity and bariatric surgery: https://youtu.be/G3dCAZfP-KA
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many clinical commissioning groups have commissioned tier 3 obesity services in each of the last five years.
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to evaluate the provision of weight management services for (a) children and young people and (b) adults in England.
A: Clinical commissioning groups have a statutory responsibility to commission services which meet the needs of their local population including access to tier 4 obesity services.
The Department has not made an assessment of the cost effectiveness of tier 4 obesity services. It is for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to provide national clinical guidance and advice, based on best evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness, for use of interventions, technology and devices.
To help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments NICE has produced a suite of guidance on tackling obesity including “Obesity: identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in children, young people and adults”, which includes access to all tiers of obesity services. This guidance is available at:
The Department does not hold information on the number of tier 3 obesity services commissioned by clinical commissioning groups or local authorities. Public Health England has explored the evidence base for tier 3 weight management interventions with adults and children, which concludes that tier 3 obesity services can provide positive outcomes and support to individuals in managing severe and often complex forms of obesity. Outputs from this work are published in: “Exploring the evidence base for Tier 3 weight management interventions for adults: a systematic review” and “Exploring the evidence base for Tier 3 specialist weight management interventions for children aged 2-18 years in the UK: a rapid systematic review”. These documents are available at:
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of the advertising of products high in fat, sugar and salt on children’s health.
A: Public Health England’s 2015 report ‘Sugar reduction: The evidence for action’ is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sugar-reduction-from-evidence-into-action
The report showed that all forms of advertising and marketing, including advertising on television, through social and other online media, increase the preference, choice, purchasing and consumption of high sugar foods and drinks by children. Consuming a diet high in sugar leads to weight gain and therefore contributes to childhood obesity.