We believe that there is a great value in preventing a problem occurring and that people will live better lives if resources are directed to taking early action. In 2017 we are therefore planning to focus resources on supporting system change which could enable partners join up to support early action or preventative approaches.
Working towards this we have been finding out more about organisations that take a preventative approach. As part of this learning we have been focusing on three themes. In our December blog we explored the issue of women and criminal justice and this post focuses on our second theme: promoting healthy weight.
By ‘promoting healthy weight’ we include approaches which value promoting health at any and every size. Overweight and obesity risk becoming a public health challenge in Scotland. We know that sustainable, community-wide approaches to promoting healthy weight, ‘health gain,’ and healthy lives generally involves a set of integrated services, from acute services, to more upstream community based targeted, and universal ‘preventative’ initiatives. These services and actions are delivered by the many organisations, community services, and networks that make up a local ‘system’.
We have been talking to a range of organisations involved with preventing obesity, promoting healthy weight and promoting healthy lives. We have asked about the range of approaches, the opportunities and challenges, and how to successfully enable system change and shift in spend from acute services to more community led preventative activities.
We’d now like to look at what we can do to help organisations come together strategically at a local level, to change and add value to, or gather evidence and evaluate, the way services work. We have learned, for example, that there may be a need for effective and more systematic evaluation of the impact of more ‘upstream approaches’ on acute services.
We believe there is an opportunity to help people working across sectors re-focus efforts and resources on more preventative approaches, through collaboration with local communities.
If you would like to share your experiences in this area please do get in touch by commenting below.
We will be telling you more about the third and final theme we are exploring, young people and families, in the coming weeks.