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The Imperial College Obesity Strategy Assessment Framework (IC-OSAF)

Obesity is a major public health issue because of its increasing prevalence and impact on health. For example, as well as its impact on conditions such as high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, obesity is now also an important risk factor for cancer and liver dieases. The management of overweight and obesity has therefore been a government priority for many years. However, overweight and obesity management at a local level has often been ineffective. Although there is a need to examine obesity strategies and policies for local populations, there is currently no readily available framework for evaluating local obesity strategies. Researchers at Imperial College, led by Nik Tuah, therefore developed a framework, the Imperial College Obesity Strategy Assessment Framework (IC-OSAF), for examining the content of local obesity strategies.

The IC-OSAF was developed by adapting two previous policy analysis frameworks (Bardach’s Eightfold Path Framework and Collins’ Health Policy Analysis Framework). These were used these with information from national guidelines to develop an obesity strategy analysis framework. The framewrok was then piloted to evaluate the obesity strategy for one London primary care trust (PCT). The framework was applied successfully and helped identify limitations and omissions in the PCT obesity management strategy. The IC-OSAF is a practical, easy-to-use tool for the analysis of local obesity management strategies. The framework can help identify gaps and limitations in strategies to help reduce variations in obesity management between PCTs. Its use should therefor be considered by other PCTs and GP commissioning groups to assess the completeness of their obesity strategies.

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