UCL Health


Identifying where policy or research could add value to current obesity prevention efforts

This project will systematically generate a comprehensive list of potential levers for obesity prevention across the early life course (here considered pregnancy and 0-5 years).

22 June 2021


There is growing evidence for the importance of pregnancy and maternal factors, including maternal weight, general health and the environment for programming weight gain in offspring across the life-course. Pre and postnatal growth, and their interaction, are important for establishing risk factors for obesity.

This suggests that a sharper policy focus on pregnancy and early childhood could be useful in improving the effectiveness of obesity prevention interventions.

Aims and methodology

The specific objectives are to

  • identify and describe the key factors which are relevant to obesity prevention in the early years;
  • identify and describe national policy in the early years for obesity prevention in order to generate a comprehensive list of policy levers for obesity prevention;
  • systematically map these policies onto the key factors related to energy balance behaviours in early life;
  • make recommendations about potential opportunities for policy levers to be enabled, additional opportunities where policy could be developed and research gaps.

This study will use a behavioural science approach.

The scoping for the study will be done using the COM-B theoretical model, with policies and other interventions described systematically using the published Behaviour Change Wheel framework.


End May 2018

> Back to Research projects

The NIHR Policy Research Unit in Healthy Weight is part of the NIHR and hosted by UCL.