How KHP DEO is tackling Obesity 

The King's Health Partner's Diabetes, Endocrinology and Obesity Clinical Academic Partnership focuses on innovative ways to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with diabetes, obesity and endocrine related conditions across London, south east England, and beyond.  

Ahead of World Obesity Day 2024, the team have been involved in many influential projects and events - working with external health organisations, partners and patients to raise awareness of stigma in obesity and bring about improvements in care for patients and communities.

KHP and partners host a Hackathon 

Jennie and colleagues holding a project board with - image taken at the Hackathon event

At the end of February, King’s Health Partners, the Health Innovation Network (HIN) South London and the South East London Integrated Care System (SEL ICS) came together with OpenDot - a research and open innovation hub based in Milan – to participate in a two-day hackathon event. The aim of the event was to address the challenge “How can we support adults with learning differences living with excess weight, to make healthy food choices?”. The hackathon was part of the European project FEAST, which aims to facilitate the transition to a food system that is better for people and for our planet.

The hackathon brought together staff working in the areas of healthy weight and learning disabilities in south east London and people with lived experience, alongside academics, designers and developers from across Europe to work on solutions to the proposed challenge. Through collaboration and co-design methodology, each group came up with a proposed concept and refined their concept using design tools with input from SEL ICS, HIN, King’s Health Partners and OpenDot mentors. The ideas were presented to a jury of experts and two winning teams were awarded prizes and mentoring to help further develop their solutions towards implementation.

The hackathon reflected how effective and powerful partnership working can be in generating solutions to real world issues facing the population of south east London. The jury were impressed at all of the teams ideas, noting the potential for true translation of innovation into improved health outcomes and reduced inequalities for people living with learning disabilities across south east London.

KHP Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology submission 

After two years in collaboration with 58 leading experts in the obesity field, we are excited to share that the KHP Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology Commission has been submitted and is undergoing external peer review at The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. The Commission was tasked with developing an objective definition of disease in obesity and reliable criteria for its diagnosis. While we await reviewer responses, we are working on draft launch plans and will share an update once a date is confirmed. To find out more about this work please review here.    

KHP and partners are working to develop and deliver an equitable weight management model of care  

Why our work is important 

The obesity rate in south east London is a significant concern, with 56% of adult residents carrying excess weight. The NHS has a tiered weight management pathway which is applied across south east London. Depending on a patient’s body mass index (BMI), weight related conditions and individual needs they may be eligible to access one or more of these tiers. A huge increase in demand for weight management services has resulted in several challenges emerging across the system. This has contributed to growing waiting lists, duplication of referrals, variance in equity of access and delays in patients receiving the best care for them.  

Our approach  

In October 2023, the South East London (SEL) Integrated Care System and King's Health Partners developed a Healthy Weight action plan (as part of system-wide efforts on the VITAL 5), with a goal of stemming the rise of childhood and adults obesity by 2029/30. Within this workstream, we launched an end-to-end adult’s weight management pathway review, focused on developing more equitable, efficient and sustainable weight management services - underpinned by the principles of value-based healthcare. The team have undertaken interviews with patients, clinicians and commissioners across the system, reviewed evidence-based practice, and mapped provider pathways across each 'tier', and will also undertake demand and capacity modelling. Our aim is to:

  • Identify where the pathway/s are working well and areas for improvement.
  • Co-design a new pathway with service users and providers that addresses challenges, delivers more equitable access, experience and outcomes for our diverse SEL communities, and enables effective translation of innovation and research into clinical practice.
  • Make recommendations for commissioners and providers to support service development and sustainability.

A pledge to end the social stigma of obesity  

On World Obesity Day 2020 the Joint international consensus statement for ending stigma of obesity and pledge was published in Nature Medicine. The statement and pledge were developed through an international conference, led by Prof Francesco Rubino. Organisations and individuals were invited to sign the pledge to help eradicate weight-based stigma and discrimination and treat individuals with overweight and obesity with dignity and respect.  

Since this initial pledge, colleagues across KHP have continued to drive local and international work to end obesity stigma. Prof Rubino led a ‘Pledge to end the social stigma of obesity’ workshop in February 2024, which was attended by over 300 people. An expert panel of academics, medics and activists presented on the prevalence and health impacts of weight-based stigma in healthcare and beyond. They challenged the misconceptions around body weight regulation and explained why obesity cannot be solved only by eating less and exercising more.

An educational animation, based on the content of the consensus statement, was launched at the event. The animation will be used in a research survey to test the effectiveness of different approaches in tackling stigma in the public.

Vicki Mooney who has Lived experience of obesity stigma and is the Executive Director European Coalition for People living with Obesity (ECPO), Spain, spoke about her experience. You can watch her presentation below and find all other presentations on the event page:

Sharing expertise

In a February edition of KHP News, ahead of World Obesity Day, Joanna Hollington, Principal Dietitian shared what needs to be done to better support people living with obesity. Read her article here.

You can learn more about the work of KHP Diabetes, Endocrinology and Obesity at its webpages here.