UK-wide research challenge launched in obesityDoctor in laboratory.

A nationwide challenge has been launched for researchers to tackle the country’s growing obesity problem. 

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has put out a call for any research into the prevention and treatment on obesity.

>Growing problem

Obesity levels in the UK are growing rapidly with the number of people with a BMI of over 30 trebling in the last three decades.

In the UK, just under 2 in 3 people are classed as overweight or obese, while 2.7 million have type 2 diabetes, which is closely connected to weight gain.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, hopes new clinical research can shed further light on the obesity debate and help to relieve some of the pressure on the health system.

He believes more options need to be provided to overweight and obese people, other than simply to exercise more and eat more healthily. 

Long-term solutions

The research also hopes to discover other factors behind weight gain in an attempt to find long-term solutions. 

The NIHR, along with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), spearheaded a similar programme in the field of dementia, awarding £20m in research grants since 2013. 

This programme is now the world's largest social science research programme on dementia and care. 

The NIHR, the research arm of the NHS, has had a number of breakthroughs in various fields. 

It’s believed that if the top 10 NIHR high-impact research studies were fully implemented in the NHS for a year it would save £3bn. 

It is hoped this year's theme of obesity will attract high levels of interest from researchers across the country. 


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