Politicians and health experts discuss obesity at Slimming World’s Obesity Policy Workshop
More than 50 MPs and peers from across the political divide joined health professionals and industry experts at Slimming World’s inaugural Policy Workshop & Parliamentary Reception last week.
Sponsored by Virendra Sharma MP and chaired by Kevin Schofield, Editor of Politics Home, the Policy Workshop brought together politicians and health experts in three roundtable groups to discuss the issues of maternal obesity, men’s health and alcohol and weight.
The maternal obesity roundtable was jointly chaired by Louise Silverton CBE, Director for Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Lucy November, Midwife Research Fellow at RCM. Summing up, Lucy said: “Weighing women at every pregnancy appointment gives an opportunity to talk about weight.”
Summing up the men’s health roundtable, Slimming World magazine Editor-in-Chief, Elise Wells, concluded: “Men often see physical activity as the most socially acceptable way to lose weight but we need to encourage them to focus on food first and build activity in as they become more confident.”
The chair of the roundtable looking at alcohol and weight, Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said in her summing up: “Calorie labelling and minimum unit alcohol pricing on alcohol would be a positive step forward.”
Talking about the importance of collaboration across all sectors in supporting a public health programme to tackle obesity, Mr Sharma MP said: “Events like this workshop are so important for experts across all sectors to share expertise and help inform policy makers and influencers. It is increasingly important that politicians continue to listen to experts from all areas - from cancer research, public health specialists, Royal Colleges and weight management experts.”
The Policy Workshop was followed by a Parliamentary Reception and hosted by The Baroness Benjamin OBE, Chair of the Fit and Healthy Childhood APPG, who challenged guests to ‘change the world’ by taking every opportunity to help others.
"Events like this workshop are so important."
Maggie Throup MP, chair of the adult and childhood obesity APPG and member of the Health Select Committee, also talked about the work of her parliamentary group in raising the issues of obesity with the goal of changing and strengthening government policy.
The event featured speeches from two successful Slimming World members.
Thomas Munnelly, aged 17, who adopted healthier eating habits, became more active and lost 3st with Slimming World, was one of the young people involved in the development of last year’s ‘The Child’s Obesity Strategy’ – a report published last year by Slimming World and Royal Society for Public Health. Speaking with confidence beyond his years, he said: "I joined Slimming World in 2014 and now you can't get me out of the kitchen. I can go into any shop and know that whatever I pick will be great. I would never be able to do the things I do now if I hadn’t lost 3st. I really think that the government should work together with young people to tackle obesity. We need to help people to develop healthy habits from a young age so they can pass them on.”
Danny Crosby, a Unitarian Minister who is now 8st lighter, is Slimming World’s Man of the Year. He said: “I grew up with an image of myself as a small person. I felt weak, like the runt of the litter. It meant that when I first started putting on weight I actually liked it, as I felt like more of a man. However, by the time I reached 20st, I was in a desperate state. Through Slimming World though I’ve lost 8st while never experiencing hunger and I’ve built activity into my life too. I’ve found that getting support, while taking responsibility for my own weight has built my self-esteem. I feel like a new man. I have never felt more alive and more connected. This shows in my work and personal relationships. I have a busy life as a Unitarian minister and am involved in my community in many ways. I am now better able to serve the people I encounter in ways I could never have begun to dream of.”
About Slimming World
Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 16,000 weekly groups supporting 900,000 members across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Groups are run by a network of 4,500 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques.
Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating behaviour change in a warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.