Implementing a community-based obesity prevention programme: experiences of stakeholders in the north east of England

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Abstract

Recent literature indicates the potential of community-based obesity prevention programmes in the endeavour to reduce the prevalence of obesity in developed nations. Considerable suggestion and advocacy come from theoretical standpoints and little is known on actual practical application of this type of multi-component health promotion programme. This article explores the experiences of ‘implementation’ by stakeholders of a large community-based obesity prevention programme, facilitated by a National Health Service Care Trust in the north-east of England, UK. Three stakeholder groups (senior health officials, public health workers and community members) who had administrated and experienced the programme since its conception in 2006 provide perspectives on the aspects of local delivery and receipt. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with stakeholders (28 participants in total). The participants felt there were three broad aspects which shaped and constrained the delivery and receipt of the programme, namely partnership working, integration of services and quality issues. Data indicated that it had taken time to establish working partnerships between the multi-agencies involved in the community-based obesity programme. Strategic management would aid the processes of communication and collaboration between agencies and also the local community involved in the administration, delivery and participation of interventions in the programme. Secondly, the way in which the programme is justified and sustained will have to be reviewed, with the intention of using a suitable evaluative framework or tool for monitoring purposes.

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