Tag Archives: obesity

Childhood Obesity in Trafford – Infographic

One of the many roles that we undertake in the Lab is to support the National Child Measurement Programme in Trafford. I have written about this before.

As part of what we do, we agreed to look at the data, and produce an infographic that could be distributed to schools, nurses, commissioners, etc, to raise awareness of the programme, and the numbers involved. This is what we came up with, after some discussion with Trafford’s Director of Public Health:

Infographic showing childhood obesity in Trafford.
Childhood Obesity Infographic 2014

Despite us having access to all the raw data associated with the Programme in Trafford, we decided to only use data that is published through the Health and Social Care Information Centre website. Doing this ensures anyone could recreate the Infographic for another geographical area, if they wanted to.

We used Microsoft Excel to draw the charts, and Microsoft PowerPoint to create the Infographic. This feels like a good way to create simple, static Infographics, without the need for Photoshop/Illustrator skills. The only issue that we had was in exporting the slide as an image – the default resolution is not high enough to make small text legible, at 96dpi. This was soon fixed, by editing the registry, upping it to 200dpi, which made everything a lot clearer, whilst increasing the size of the .png file from ~100kb to a still-manageable 600kb.

The whole process took around 4 hours, from start to finish. Feedback has so far been very positive – with this style of presentation being much more engaging than traditional reports.

Next steps for us are to develop the maps further – adding schools etc. We will also be making an online, version of the infographic – less print-ready, but slightly interactive, using Leaflet and Highcharts.

As always, feel free to distribute or reuse. And if you have any comments or questions – we’d love to hear them.

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Childhood Obesity – The National Child Measurement Programme

Hedehog on weighing scale.
Our Role

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.
Data

Last year, in Trafford, the NCMP revealed that for Year 6 Children:

BMI Category Trafford National
Underweight 1.26% 1.33%
Healthy Weight 65.8% 65.4%
Overweight 33% 33.3%
Very Overweight 18.4% 18.9%

 

While for reception-age children:

BMI Category Trafford National
Underweight 0.78% 0.88%
Healthy Weight 80.2% 76.9%
Overweight 19% 22.2%
Very Overweight 7% 9.3%

 

Spatial representation of the data shows that there are hotspots:

Map showing differences in obesity rates in Trafford
Percentage of reception-age children who are very overweight (2009-2012)

 

Map showing differences in obesity rates in Trafford
Percentage of Year 6 children who are very overweight (2009-2012)

 

This data is available in a range of formats on InfoTrafford. All data is available under Open Government Licence 2.0. Click here to access the Interactive Map

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.