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Obesity Training And Information Services for Europe [OBTAINS-E] [708876] - Operating Grant
Project abstract

OBesity Training And INformation Services for Europe (OBTAINS-E) is a program of work run by the World Obesity Federation (formerly IASO-IOTF). The World Obesity Federation is a registered charity based in the UK with professional membership organisations in 21 EU and 5 other European countries. The Federation undertakes work beyond the European Region, but in this proposal it seeks support only for the European-focused activities which are directly relevant to the Community's 3rd Health Programme. The objectives are (i) to ensure that people in Europe who are overweight can receive the best available support for weight management and prevention of co-morbid disease, (ii) to reduce obesity prevalence in European populations through prevention strategies, and (iii) to take account of socio-demographic inequalities in the use of health services and in response to prevention initiatives.To fulfil these objectives, the Federation offers web-based training for professional obesity treatment and weight management, provided by recognised experts and available to practitioners across the Community's services. The Federation is also a source of data and policy information for the development of prevention strategies in the region.In 2016 the programme of work includes the expansion of the web-based training course, the development of a scholarship programme for lower-income Member States, the development of a suite of downloadable graphics on prevalence and inequalities in English and five other EU languages, updating the interactive maps and developing an Atlas and set of Country Record Cards. These activities support the Community’s 3rd Health Programme, Specific Objective 1 for cost effective disease prevention (including: good practices for disease prevention and health promotion) and Specific Objective 3 for building health systems (including: cross-border expertise and public health interventions and prevention strategies).

Summary of context, overal objectives, strategic, relevance and contribution of the action

The evidence base for the rise in obesity in Europe and the consequential disease burden and health service costs are described in the Framework Partnership Agreement. The problem analysis led us to conclude:

(i) that effective treatment of already-obese adults in the EU is of high importance for reducing the disease burden in the community, and that the evidence for effective treatment methods and best practices should be disseminated across the region, to ensure a high level of professional skill in health service delivery and addressing inequalities in access and use of health services; and

(ii) that strategies for obesity prevention are also important, as these will have long-term benefits through improving health and economic wellbeing, and that these prevention strategies and associated policies and implementation plans should be developed on the basis of reliable evidence and accessible information.

In this application for a Specific Grant Agreement we outline the OBTAINS (OBesity Training And Information Services) programme of work for the European Region for the year 2016. The year 2016 is the second year of the programme, and builds on the work achieved for our web-based professional training course SCOPE (Specialist Certification in Obesity Professional Education) and for our data portal and mapping services.

The proposed programme of work will continue to support and add value to a number of current pan-European initiatives in the policy arena:
• The 3rd Health Programme and its priorities for preventing disease and supporting healthy lifestyles, reducing health inequalities, promoting cross-border medical expertise (including rare causes of obesity), and supporting evidence-based and cost-effective prevention and health promotion activities.
• The EU Action Plan on Childhood Obesity 2014-2020, which aims to support Member States to develop, implement and/or evaluate their own national action plan on childhood overweight and obesity, and to encourage Member States to share good practices and develop compatible tools to monitor their national policies on childhood overweight and obesity through a Joint Action (p.20).
• The European Regional Office of the World Health Organization‘s Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020, with its strategic goal ‘… to significantly reduce the burden of preventable diet-related non-communicable diseases, obesity and all other forms of malnutrition still prevalent in the WHO European Region, which are strongly influenced by social determinants of health and have a profound negative impact on well-being and quality of life.’ (p.ii)
• The continuing commitments made in the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Our current Platform commitments include the development of web-based training for professional development and the promotion of evidence-based information on community interventions and policy mapping.

Methods and means

By the end of the first year (2015) we have:
• Expanded and consolidated SCOPE with additional training modules, and made the course more widely available by offering it in European languages (English, French, and also Spanish and Portuguese funded outside the OBTAINS-E budget); supported by SCOPE schools held in two EU Member States (UK, Greece).
• Provided facts, figures, graphics, and downloadable presentations in two European languages (English, French), along with a series of interactive maps for policy development and community interventions, in a format accessible to regular PCs and also to tablets and smartphones.

The work proposed in 2016 is an integral part of the development of our training and information services identified in the 2015-2017 work plan described in the FPA. In particular, the 2016 work-programme will extend the number of modules offered in the SCOPE training course,including modules translated and available in French and Spanish, and we will hold further SCOPE Schools.

New initiative: In 2016 we propose to extend access to the online SCOPE course by reducing the cost charged to health professionals. Research into salary scales in Member States with GNI below 90% of the EU indicates that health professionals (physicians, nurses) typically earn less than 40% of the salaries available in Western Europe (e.g. UK, Germany and Sweden). For professionals seeking to undertake the SCOPE online course from locations in the lower-income Member States we will make scholarships available at significantly reduced cost: test marketing will establish the level of discount needed in each Member State with a GNI <90% of the EU average. This is a departure from the original plan in the FPA.

In 2016 we will also provide further graphics and interactive maps, an Atlas of country-by-country information on obesity trends, interventions and policy activities. We will provide downloadable graphics in four additional languages which will include information on obesity inequalities: Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Polish. Use of the material available in Polish will be particularly closely monitored to assess the need for adding other Slavic languages in 2017.

Work performed during the reporting period

2016 Work Programme lists the following activities

Preparation of five new SCOPE modules published in English
Increasing the number of modules available in English, French and Spanish
Launch a SCOPE course scholarship programme
Run two 2016 SCOPE Schools, one in a Member State with GNI < 90% EU mean
Produce at least 80 graphics in English available for downloading
Produce at least 80 graphics published in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Polish
Produce interactive data maps updated in 2016, including social inequalities maps
Produce interactive updated policy and risk factor maps
Provide interactive maps showing at least 90 interventions covering all EU Member States
Prepare and publish an Atlas and Country Record Cards for all EU Member States

The main output achieved so far and their potential impact and use by target group (including benefits)

We have provided the following 2016 Deliverables:

Five new SCOPE modules published in English - these are used by healthy professionals across Europe to maintain best practice guidance for obesity treatment.

28 SCOPE modules available in English, French and Spanish, to ernsure access to wide number of EU health care professionals.

Provided SCOPE course scholarships to over 40 health care professionals from lower-income mMember States

Run two 2016 SCOPE Schools, one in Lndon and one in Greece (GNI < 90% EU mean). The latter School was open to scholarships, and over 150 participants attended.

Provided over 80 graphics in English available for free downloading, to be used by researchers, advocacy and civil society groups, journalists and students.

Provided over 80 graphics available for free downloading and available in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Polish, in order to ensure widespread access for researchers, advocacy and civil society groups, journalists and students.

Provided a series of interactive data maps, including data on social inequalities, available for free access by researchers, advocacy and civil society groups, journalists and students.

Provided a series of interactive policy and risk factor maps, available for free access by researchers, advocacy and civil society groups, journalists and students.

Provided interactive maps giving information on over 90 interventions covering all EU Member States, available for free access by researchers, advocacy and civil society groups, journalists and students.

Provided freely-available PDF documents in the form of an EU Atlas and Country Record Cards for all EU Member States, available to researchers, advocacy and civil society groups, journalists and students.

Achieved outcomes compared to the expected outcomes

The five SCOPE online course modules are still in production at the end of 2016. Otherwise all outcomes met or exceeded the expected outcomes.

Dissemination and evaluation activities carried out so far and their major results

We have undertaken widespread dissemination to members of the World Obesity Federation, to other mailing lists, to press lists and to networks of other health organisations and civil society groups. Presentation of the OBTAINS outputs have been made at the EU Platform (where OBTAINS is one of our Commitments). Downloads of our material have been monitored and a report will be compiled and presented to the EU Platform.