Published on 13 January 2016

A campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of clinical research into obesity aims to encourage people to take part in trials to help tackle the condition, which is estimated to affect a quarter of adults in the UK.

The BIG Challenge campaign was launched today (Wednesday, 13th January) by the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) to coincide with National Obesity Awareness Week.

Latest figures show that obesity levels in the UK have tripled in the last 30 years, with one in four adults considered to be obese. By 2050 these figures are expected to double.

The aims of the campaign include highlighting how clinical research will help the NHS address the “obesity epidemic” in the UK and how clinical research can provide the source of new and better treatments in the NHS.

The campaign is also encouraging people to take part in clinical research in the NHS – which can be done by registering your interest through the UK Clinical Trials Gateway website.

It is predicted that the obesity "epidemic" will have a big impact on the NHS in the future and is linked to a number of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, mental health, cardiology, metabolic (making energy from food) and endocrine (glands that make hormones), genetics and cancer.

Doctors use clinical research to gather evidence about new treatments, in order to improve patient care in the NHS. A growing body of research indicates that a research-active culture brings a host of benefits for patients, clinicians and the NHS. It drives innovation, gives rise to better and more cost-effective treatments, and creates opportunities for staff development. As a result, although most NHS organisations do some level of research, there is a national drive to increase the number of opportunities for people to take part in high-quality research studies.

People are being encouraged to take part in medical trials to help improve care of patients in the future

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer recently highlighted obesity as one of the biggest risks to women’s health in her 2014 annual report here and said: “Action is required across all of society to prevent obesity and its associated problems from shortening women’s lives and affecting their quality of life. We need to address the educational and environmental factors that cause obesity and empower women and their families to live healthier lives.

“As obese women have an increased chance of miscarriage and premature birth, the report highlights planning for pregnancy as an important missed opportunity to give women health messages to improve their mental and physical health and that of their children.”

Dame Sally wants to end the myth that women should eat for two when pregnant and has asked all women to work with healthcare professionals to make positive changes when planning to get pregnant and to stay healthy throughout their pregnancy.

She added: “In women, obesity can affect the outcomes of any pregnancies they have and the health of any future children they may have. This is a difficult message to convey, as it risks burdening women with guilt and responsibility, but I believe that it can also empower women to take positive steps like eating more healthily and taking more exercise. It is never too late to take action for a healthier lifestyle – for you and your family.”

The cause of type 2 diabetes is generally weight related. If you are overweight it is more likely that insulin resistance is responsible. Reducing your weight and being physically active will improve your insulin's activity but you may need medication or insulin to help.

I would like to make a regular donation of


I would like to make a single donation of

There are lots of ways to raise money to support
people living with all forms of diabetes.

Bake, Swim, Cycle, Fly ... Do It For DRWF!

Fundraise with us

Recent News