Can you really manage obesity? And you will notice in the nature of this question that I am not asking whether you can manage your weight. What is the difference between managing diabetes and managing weight?

The difference is that we need to see obesity as a chronic disease which can be managed, but not cured. It is part of a chronic disease epidemic which, drawing from the World Bank (2005) framework, has three essential components (1) it has its origin in early childhood (2) there are many opportunities for intervention and (3) it is influenced by an interaction of complex factors, including genetic, psycho-social, and environmental, as well as aspects of individual choice.

Managing obesity requires a multi-disciplinary and long-term approach, as is evidenced in the Counterweight Programme (2004) and the Look Ahead Trial (2007). When you see it in this way, it has shades of disease management programmes in the area of drug and alcohol addiction. There are no quick fixes in this area and long-term support is essential for success.

A critical element in managing obesity is understanding the links, the ‘comorbidity’, between mental health, adverse childhood experience and obesity for many people. The research shows that if you have experienced trauma, and you come from a lower socioeconomic status environment, you are more likely to experience obesity. So, the dice is loaded.

What we are doing in the Tri-Factor Programme is providing an initial stepping-stone to a better life. It is a clinical programme and adopts a multi-disciplinary approach of Talk Therapy, Fitness Training and Nutritional Therapy. We completed a number of research studies during 2019 and the results have been encouraging. Participants have experienced material change in metabolic health, including weight loss in some cases. We believe that the multi-disciplinary and community approach makes a significant difference, along with providing significant elements of choice to participants in the design of their programmes. Additionally, we offer all participants continuation programmes to sustain gains that they have made.

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The Counterweight Programme (2004)

The Look Ahead Trial (2007)

Preventing Chronic Diseases: a vital investment. WHO 2005