One of the key outcomes of the Innovation Lab will be underpinning the work to address people of ‘unhealthy weight’ in Trafford. This encompasses a huge range of activities, one of which is the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). The Innovation Lab supports Public Health in a broad sense, through provision and analysis of data. Public Health have responsibility for the NCMP, which involves measuring the height and weight of all children in Trafford schools in Reception (age 4/5) and Year 6 (age 10/11).
The data for approximately 5,500 children is typed into a secure web-based system provided by the NHS, which provides a set of validation rules, as well as summary statistics. Crucially, it also gives the option to export the raw data in .csv format. In the Innovation Lab, we use the data for two things:
- Letters are sent to the parents/carers of all children who are measured, advising them off their child’s BMI, and category (Underweight, Healthy weight, Overweight, Very overweight). There are links to NHS websites providing advice, and a Change 4 Life booklet is included with the letter. Evidence suggests that this method of informing parents is effective in highlighting issues with weight in families.
- The data is analysed by calculating headline figures (percentage very overweight, percentage overweight and very overweight, proportion of children measured) for all of Trafford. These are reported to Public Health. We also disaggregate the data to a variety of geographical levels. The small numbers mean that reporting at Lower Super Output Area level is inappropriate for single year, so we report based on 4 years worth of data. The maps and analyses are made available on InfoTrafford, and links distributed throughout organisations across the borough.
Last year, in Trafford, the NCMP revealed that for Year 6 Children:
While for reception-age children:
Spatial representation of the data shows that there are hotspots:
This information is of great use to Public Health, and helps to support the Childhood Obesity Strategy. More information about childhood obesity in Trafford can be found in the Obesity section of the Children chapter of Trafford’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.
It is also of interest to our locality partnerships – 3 of the 4 have reduction in childhood obesity levels as one of their key priorities, thanks to this data.
The work of the lab will continue to augment this analysis. The co-location of analysts from Trafford Community Leisure Trust, and a Public Health analyst mean that the data and knowledge being shared give an unprecedented multi-faceted view of the issue, and asset mapping will provide a view of potential solutions to this issue. We are also hoping to cross reference the data with our ACORN market segmentation data, to see whether there are particular characteristics or behaviours that might help to inform public health strategies.
As always, comments or questions welcome.