When the initial Obesity Health Alliance members first came together in 2015, our founding aim was to speak to Government with one voice about what they should prioritise to reduce overweight and obesity.
Nearly four years on and with 46 members, representing disease specific health charities, medical royal colleges, campaign groups and organisations working at a local level, our strengths are in our number, our diverse expertise and ability to align around key issues.
As an alliance, having consensus on the key issues is vital and our joint policy position provides the backbone to our work together. We update our joint position statement every two years, or more frequently if required in response to a changing policy environment.
The updating of the OHA’s joint position statement is based on the following consensus mapping exercise:
- Members are asked to provide recommended policy calls for reducing overweight and obesity. These are loosely grouped into various themes including the following: product content and info, marketing and promotion, fiscal, healthcare and children, strategic, physical activity, measurement and treatment.
- These calls are then compiled into a large spreadsheet which all members have access to.
- Each member is asked to mark on the spreadsheet what calls their organisation could support, what calls their own organisation are actively calling for, and what (if any) calls are red lines for their organisation.
- We tally up these responses, to identify the calls where there is a high level of consensus across our membership.
- The policy group look at these calls through a political lens considering factors such as current political and public support and if enacting a policy is within the gift of the Government.
- We work with our members with particular expertise in areas such as nutrition or early years to finesse each of the calls.
- We then circulate the updated position statement around our members, making tweaks to language and nuance of the calls to ensure they reflect a broad position that everyone can support.
The causes of obesity are multi-factorial and complex, and this is why OHA’s aim is to provide Government with clear policy actions with significant support from health organisations. It’s important to note that whilst OHA members commit to supporting the OHA’s policy calls, this is not in exclusion to their own organisation’s calls on reducing overweight and obesity. We recognise the importance of a broad spectrum of action is undertaken to reduce overweight and obesity – and a significant amount of these will involve action across the wider system.
Our updated policy position is available here.