Obesity is already the second largest modifiable risk factor for cancer and is of increasing concern in the UK where the obesity rate is one of the highest in Europe.
27% of the UK adult population are living with obesity and obesity underlies much of primary care workload with 44% of Type 2 diabetes cases, 23% of ischaemic heart disease and 41% of certain types of cancer being attributed to obesity.
In addition, the number of adults living with severe obesity, which significantly reduces life expectancy, has doubled to approximately 2.6 million over the last 10 years. Obesity and its related illnesses lead to significant healthcare costs, estimated at £6 billion per year in the UK, with additional societal costs of £27 billion from reduced productivity secondary to obesity-related ill-health.
NCMP data for Year 6 overweight and obesity figures shows that four of the nine local authorities in C&M perform worse than the England average, with 4 performing similar to the England average. Around 55% of children living with obesity go on to be obese adolescents and approximately 80% of obese adolescents become obese adults.
New cancer cases per 100,000 are higher in C&M region (598.0) than the England average (5528.8), with 99,749 people living with a cancer diagnosis across C&M in 2018.
Of those living with a cancer diagnosis in 2018, the largest proportion (26,048) were from the most deprived IMD quintile, which is marked by higher levels of health inequalities.
Based on the above high-level data, this project will also seek to contribute to addressing the long-term wider determinants of health as they relate to overweight and obesity.
The overall aim of the Strategic Overweight and Obesity Project is to fulfil one of the core remits of the Cancer Alliance: that of facilitator and system-builder. CMCA is planning to commit to a 5-year programme of funding for this work, to enable long-term sustainable approaches to addressing this challenge. It is anticipated that throughout this timeframe, this funding will remain with the successful applicant for this tender, although poor performance against the outlined indicators may lead to a reassessment of this arrangement.
The project seeks to act as a ‘hub’ of connectivity, bringing together other system leaders and stakeholders, including other Whole System Approach programmes, to increase the overall volume and reach of initiatives designed to improve rates of overweight and obesity. This project also seeks to contribute to addressing the long-term wider determinants of health as they relate to overweight and obesity, which will be further determined in the development of a year 2 to year 5 plan.
This project sits within the Prevention and Early Diagnosis Programme of CMCA. It aligns with the CMCA ambitions of reducing overall cancer rates and addressing inequalities across the region.
After a tender process, CMCA has appointed the public health charity, Health Equalities Group (HEG), to deliver this project. HEG has significant experience of delivering complex projects related to healthy weight and obesity, and manages the Food Active network for local authorities across the North West.