Background: The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) collects height and weight measures with children aged 4-5 and 10-11. The WHO Europe Child Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI), established in over 40 countries,
similarly collects data on height and weight, but with children aged 6-9 years and includes a parent questionnaire on physical activity and eating behaviours. We hypothesise a representative sample of Local Authorities (LA’s) integrating
an additional measurement year into the NCMP would allow England to join COSI; the aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of this.
Methods: Key stakeholders who would be involved in COSI delivery, were it to be introduced, were invited to join an online semi-structured qualitative interview between February and June 2022. A thematic analysis was conducted.
Results: Nineteen interviews were conducted with 27 participants including representatives from WHO Europe, four countries participating in COSI, OHID, and public health teams across eleven LA’s. Two main themes were identified:
(1) Potential benefits (2) Logistics and practicalities. The opportunity to compare childhood obesity rates in England to COSI countries was seen as a positive, as was an additional measurement point to prompt earlier intervention if needed.
Participants emphasised additional data collection should lead to action and not simply act as surveillance. Countries spoke of the opportunities COSI provides including networking and the data informing public health policies. LA
representatives spoke pragmatically about the extra resources to run COSI. There was agreement that correspondence to schools and parents would need to clearly justify the measurement and use appropriately sensitive language.
Conclusions and implications: There were perceived benefits of England joining COSI, despite some concerns about practicalities. It was evident for additional data collection to be feasible there must be a strong, clear justification
communicated with sensitivity, it should be appropriately resourced and lead to visible action.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAcceptance date - 2023
EventUK Society for Behavioural Medicine: 18th Annual scientific conference, Birmingham - Birmingham, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Mar 202329 Mar 2023


ConferenceUK Society for Behavioural Medicine
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


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