For the last year, I’ve enjoyed working with Public Health England to make a real difference to the lives of over 600,000 children between 4 to 7 years who are above a healthy weight.
The Digital Weight Management programme is a great demonstrator of Public Health England’s new ways of working; leading with a digital and design mindset to improve health outcomes. Throughout this work, FutureGov and Public Health England have worked as a blended team bringing together diverse disciplines from design and digital to diet, physical activity and behavioural science.
Below is a blog I wrote with Jamie Blackshaw, the Product Owner and Obesity Lead, and Helena Wehling, the Behavioural Insights Lead at Public Health England, sharing the opportunity for digital, design and change, how we worked together, and the service proposition that we designed with families and that we are hoping to take into Beta testing soon. The blog was first published on DHSC’s Digital Health and Social Care Blog.
Public Health England (PHE) is co-designing Our Family Health to support personalised behaviour change for families with children aged 4 to 7 years. The service aims to help whole families adopt lifestyle behaviour changes to help their children either maintain or grow into a healthy weight.
Families who engage with local face-to-face family weight management services benefit from that support. The trouble is that not all families with children identified as being above a healthy weight have access to such services. Even when services are available, families do not always use them or sustain change once support has ended.
PHE has a responsibility to support local services. So, it is important to understand how healthy lifestyle behaviour change support can be more accessible to families and to better meet their needs. With technology featuring in our everyday lives, it makes sense to explore how it can support families as they embark on healthy lifestyle changes.
We found that there are many digital products in the health and wellbeing market, but there is a gap and an opportunity for trusted, family-friendly digital support that adequately meets families’ needs. We also found that families need solutions that bring together high-quality content and functionality in a simple way, to meet their complex needs and diverse lifestyles.
This is particularly true of families who have the motivation to get on their healthy weight journey but don’t have the tools or support to do so. These families end up trying to make changes on their own, often with little success which can be disheartening.