At the National Centre for Population Health & Well-being Research (NCPHWR), our researchers are truly making a difference.
NCPHWR plays a key role in providing evidenced-based health research, some of which has featured in The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Wales’ Annual Report, launched on the 7th May.
The CMO for Wales advises ministers on health issues; leads the medical profession in Wales; and advocates for better health on behalf of the people of Wales. His Annual Report entitled ‘Valuing our health’, outlines how current research is helping to improve the health of future generations Wales.
In his report, the CMO defines how Wales is leading the way in combating childhood obesity through research that aims to find better ways of enabling children and young people to lead healthy lives.
The work of NCPHWR was recognised in the report, with the CMO stating, “Wales’ National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research (NCPHWR) is at the forefront of research to inform obesity prevention initiatives. Funded by Health and Care Research Wales, the Centre has forged its own path in finding the evidence to develop new approaches.”
Professor Sinead Brophy, Deputy Director of NCPHWR, added, “Taking interventions that work for adults and directly applying them to young people as a quick fix has been done in the past and there is little evidence that this works.
We’re taking a very different approach by developing solutions that young people want, and are sustainable by understanding the issues from the perspective of young people.”
NCPHWR research- creating a national health network
The report features the research work of NCPHWR’s Health and Attainment of Pupils in Primary Education Network (HAPPEN), which has collected health and activity data on over 4000 pupils from schools across Swansea. This data is helping those schools to spot and tackle health inequalities amongst their students.
Going forward, Emily Marchant, NCPHWR Researcher and HAPPEN coordinator commented: “building on our success, our ambition is that HAPPEN is to expand across Wales and to provide Wales with a national Primary School Health Network.”
NCPHWR research – asking the right questions
The CMO’s Report highlighted the work of NCPHWR’s School Health Research Network (SHRN), which aims to create a healthy future for young people in Wales. By collecting data every two years from more than 100,000 students in secondary schools across Wales, the network allows schools to better understand the challenges facing them and allows researchers to identify the questions that need answering.
Professor Simon Murphy, NCPHWR Deputy Director and Principal Investigator at SHRN commented:
“Through our research, we have been able to identify the health issues that need addressing, highlight chalk face approaches that are making a difference and work together to develop evidence-based approaches that will improve the prospects of future generations.”
NCPHWR research – letting teens make their own choices
The Report also focuses on the work of NCPHWR’s, Active Children through Individual Vouchers Evaluation (ACTIVE) project which gave activity vouchers to year nine pupils, aged 13 to 14, to spend on any physical activity they like, empowering young people to make their own decisions, changing attitudes and decreasing inactivity.
Teenagers who took part also gave recommendations about what would make them want to take part in physical activity, including lower costs, having local facilities and dedicated activities for teens.
Discussing the next stage of ACTIVE, Michaela James, NCPHWR Researcher and ACTIVE Trial Manager stated that:
“The ACTIVE Project produced some excellent results and new unique insights into teenage inactivity. We are now moving into the next stage of the project where we plan to use our findings to develop an even better intervention to help teenagers become more active.”
NCPHWR research – impacting Wales as a whole
Prof Ronan Lyons, Director of NCPHWR, concluded this section of the CMO’s report by commenting: “The work being carried out by NCPHWR can have a positive impact, not just on young people and their future achievements, health and well-being, but potentially on the future productivity and health of Wales.
Read the full report here: https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-05/valuing-our-health.pdf