Improving weight loss in morbidly obese young people

Theme Diet and physical activity

Workstream Clinical diet and physical activity

Two overweight teenage boys standing in front of their school

Overweight and obesity affects one in three children in England and causes associated illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and having trouble breathing while asleep. Bristol’s care of childhood obesity (CoCO) clinic is a major pilot site for future childhood obesity services in NHS England’s Complications Related to Excess Weight (CEW) clinics.

Research takes place at the CoCO clinic, looking at how modifying eating behaviours and improving patient experience can affect weight loss. We investigate how behaviour (including eating speed and meal mindfulness), hormones and our brains affect relationships with food.

We are continuing to investigate how weight loss in morbidly obese young people can be improved. We are doing this by co-developing a novel therapeutic intervention based on self-determination theory (SDT).

SDT is a theory dealing with the motivation behind peoples’ actions. Health and weight can be influenced by our habits and lifestyle choices. This means that motivation—the energy we use to achieve something like weight loss—plays a role in these choices and in our ability to make long-term changes for the benefit our health.

This project focuses on developing an intervention that is acceptable to young people. It will establish how SDT can be used to encourage changes in behaviour and eating habits. Our aim is to develop and intervention that ultimately leads to improved weight management in morbidly obese young people.