Young people and their families living with excess weight experience huge stigma and judgement. As the NHS delivers new clinics for excess weight we are delighted to share the results of work with young people and parents that highlights the need for good communication, consistency, follow up and holistic approaches.
To help reduce complications and improve outcomes for young people living with excess weight the NHS is testing new ways of providing services. These services focus on treating the “complications” related to excess weight. To support this work AYPH led a scoping review of evidence and a programme of engagement work with young people and parents living with obesity and excess weight.
Excess weight is a sensitive and difficult topic for young people to discuss. To ensure young people and families had wrap around support we worked with SHINE Health Academy in South Yorkshire. Overall, the work demonstrated how children and young people are deeply affected by their experiences of obesity and the complications of excess weight, and these experiences affect how they engage with services.
Key messages from young people and parents included the importance of mental health support and non-judgemental communication. The work highlights the stigma and negative experiences young people and families experience and the need for holistic approaches that recognise the whole child and the way in which their needs and issues are all linked and need addressing as a whole.
Young people really appreciated the opportunity to have their views heard as part of the process and parents highlighted the need to recognise and involve them in supporting their young people without blame, judgement or stigma.
Emma Rigby and Ann Hagell