Inaugural Lecture of Professor Pinki Sahota





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Published on 27 Jan 2014

Childhood Obesity: Current challenges and future directions
This lecture will examine the lifestyle factors that contribute to the development of obesity; namely diet and physical activity and question why, despite being aware of these modifiable risk factors, it is such a challenge to reverse the trends in the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity. It will consider the challenges for practitioners, researchers and policy-makers and then draw on the experience from the development, delivery and evaluation of a number of childhood obesity prevention programmes to make recommendations for future interventions.
The solutions are far from straightforward for a condition which on the surface appears simple and this lecture aims to begin the debate about the kind of measures that should or could be considered. However there is consensus that a co-ordinated approach is essential across government departments that links with food industry, media, local government and public health departments, health and social services, local communities, parents and carers to ensure that healthier choices are the easier choices in our everyday lives. The lecture will conclude by highlighting future directions for research that involve the experience of users, practitioners and researchers in order to develop, deliver and evaluate interventions to address this major public health issue.

Professor Pinki Sahota
Pinki Sahota is Professor of Nutrition and Childhood Obesity in the Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Leeds Metropolitan University. Pinki qualified as a dietitian in 1982 and has worked in the NHS within the acute and primary healthcare settings for over 17 years before starting her career in academia in 2000. Her interest in health services research emerged whilst working as a community dietitian in Bradford and Leeds and a keen interest then developed in the design and evaluation of tailored interventions aimed at improving nutritional health. During the late 1990s childhood obesity was emerging as a major public health issue both internationally and within the UK. Since 2000 Professor Sahota has built a portfolio of research and consultancy related to nutrition and childhood obesity.
Pinki's work is fundamental in developing more effective approaches to the increasing challenge of promoting healthier eating and weight management particularly in schoolaged children and the early years. Professor Sahota is at the forefront of this work both through her research and through the development of more effective approaches including 'Empower', a health visitorled programme, and 'HAPPY', a lifestyle parenting programme targeting parents which are clearly contributing to the current evidence base and influencing practice.
Her aim is to continue to develop evidence-based interventions involving users and practitioners in the design, delivery and evaluation with the longterm aim of reversing the trends in the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity.

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