Research type 
Year of report 

Summary of findings

  • There is a range of motivations, levels of knowledge and specific needs found amongst people within the key areas in relation to weight loss and exercise.
  • Those with the greatest motivation to lose weight, and therefore the greatest openness to outside initiatives, tend to be people with overweight or genetically ‘at risk’ children 2 – 10.
  • Children, in fact, often provide a route into tackling weight issues within the whole family context, and indeed parents are most motivated with they become aware of the need to give their children the best start in life through diet and exercise
  • Barriers to weight loss can be complex and deep rooted and specific to different personal circumstances. Services and initiatives within the Healthy Halifax programme will need to cater for different personal psychologies and will need to include individual as well as group support/activity.
  • There is a strong educational need for further information and strategies towards healthy living, knowledge on nutrition and cooking skills in particular are very limited, but interest in learning more is there
  • When developing the Healthy Halifax initiative, it is worth taking into account:
  1. Most are aware of the Change for Life campaign, but not all have realised that there is something in it for them.  When seen the Change for Life packs are very well received.  These packs could play a stronger role for parents in Halifax, i.e. if sent home from school in kids bags/picked up from school/handed out at after school clubs or even door dropped.
  2. Due to high levels of chronic illness in the key areas, GPs are a key gateway for parents getting assistance with change.  They could potentially play a strong role in directing patients towards advice and support.
  3. Perception of child safety is another key theme, there is a strong desire to travel to safer areas for children to play / walk outside.  However, for clubs there is greatest motivation when the activity / event is close to home.
  4. The idea of activity which involves having fun with the children can be very motivating.  Although parents often have limited motivation to be more active this can change when the activity involves having fun with their children.
  • Specific and different needs also emerge:
  1. Women can be more open to weight loss programmes and can respond well to ideas which focus around group support
  2. Men often respond better to ideas which reflect masculine interests in competition and achieving goals
  3. Facilities and activities for the Asian Muslim women within our sample need to be gender segregated.  Women can be deterred from activity not because of lack of motivation but because of overcrowded or in appropriate facilities.

Research objectives


Research objectives were to understand:

  • Current behaviour around diet and activity
  • Attitudes to losing weight
  • Needs/ preferences about initiatives to help weight loss in Halifax: what should Healthy Halifax be?



NHS Calderdale wanted to illustrate and understand the lives of people in its most deprived communities in relation to weight and physical activity.

Quick summary


Research amongst residents of the most deprived wards of Halifax (overweight themselves and / or with overweight children) to understand their experiences and attitudes in relation to weight, dieting and physical activity, and explore their needs for local weight loss initiatives.

Audience Summary





Mostly White British, but also inclusion of Asian Muslim respondents



Not specified. (All were parents of children aged 2 to 15)

Social Class


Not directly specified



  • 5 x 1.5 hour group discussions,
  • 8 x in home depth interviews and 4 follow up meal time interviews or accompanied shopping trips.
  • Respondents were recruited from outside primary schools and crèches, outside local parades of shops (convenience stores and chip shops), in the street, in pubs, through friends of friends and via local community workers.

Data collection methodology

Depth interviews
Focus groups

Other data collection methodology


Meal time interviews, accompanied shopping trips.

Sample size


Not specified beyond ‘5 groups discussions and 8 depth interviews’

Detailed region


Halifax. Specifically; Illingworth, Mixenden, Ovenden, Town and Park wards.

Fieldwork dates


Between 25th Feb and 5th March 2009

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