Background to project

Childhood obesity can have short and long term implications for physical and mental health

Some Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups have an increased biological risk from obesity and our local data shows us that in some areas of our county we have increased rates of obesity for both males and BAME groups.

Childhood obesity may be due to preventable habits, with can then influence health into adult life and reduce life expectancy.  There is national evidence that there is also a direct link between deprivation and inequality in health.

Existing evidence shows some effective strategies which could be used to develop a local programme that meets the needs of children and their families.

We have therefore established a “test and learn pilot” in Gloucester City and the Forest of Dean which aims to:

  • Following an initial discovery phase of consultation and engagement, identify what are the most effective methods of supporting obese children and their families, through sustainable behaviour change, to achieve a healthier weight.
  • Co-design and intervention with families
  • Deliver three phases of a “test and learn” programme, adapting after each phase through co-production and patient experience.
  • Using this evidence develop a business case for ongoing funding of a countywide offer.


We wanted to hold a series of workshops in Gloucester and the Forest of Dean and set about recruiting to these through social media and other more traditional communication routes.  Links to community champions, local projects and community leaders played an important part in this.  We also attended community events with an information stall and the Smoothie Bike, to engage families and their children and encourage sign up. Additionally, we targeted an Asian dads and lads group through offering and running a cricket coaching session.

We wanted to target teenagers in Matson and Lydney, so ran two events in youth centres.  Teens were recruited through existing community youth  groups; we ran free physical activity sessions to raise awareness and encourage sign up. Consequently, 14 teens joined us in Matson and 12 in Lydney.

In total 7 focus groups were held at community venues in the targeted areas:.

  • Barton and Tredworth -For female Muslim women and their children
  • Podsmead
  • Kingsholm
  • Cinderford
  • Coleford
  • Lydney
  • Matson

The workshops were attended by 59 participants:

  • 61% from Gloucester City and 39% from Forest of Dean
  • 74% lived in the two most deprived areas of those targeted (Source: Index of Multiple Deprivation)
  • 69% of participants had concerns about their child’s weight and lifestyle

Learning and outcomes

As a result of the workshops we have strengthened six key areas of the pilot programme:

  • Parenting
  • Money – universal credit and budgeting
  • Community
  • Physical activity
  • Technology and gaming
  • Food access

In response to the feedback, we will be discussing how to build partnerships with other children and families services.  The Barton and Tredworth workshop provided some specific insight from the BAME community, for example many children in the area attend Islam schools which run sessions/prayer after school.  Timing of any our programmes need to take account of this.

Next steps

The project is not completed. The “test and learn” phase of the programme needs to continue to work with families and specifically those families participating, so we can work together to make adaptations to the next phase of the programme delivery. There will be three delivery phases in total completing in March 2021.

Once the discovery phase of the project is completed, we will be collating feedback and sharing this with our range of children and families stakeholders. We have further teen focus groups planned in Spring 2020 to specifically inform the Teen weight management offer.

A full evaluation of the discovery and delivery phases will be shared in 2021.