Genetics is set to play a major role in the diagnosis, treatment and possibly prevention of disease. Nowgen, part of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, works to engage public and patient audiences in dialogue about genetics and healthcare. Ultimately, we hope that, through our activities, we will empower citizens to make informed decisions about the future of genetic medicine.
Recently, Nowgen tackled the topic of childhood obesity at a free public debate as part of the Manchester Science Festival. Almost 100 people attended and the event invited everyone to actively debate the issues with several specialists, including ITV This Morning’s Dr Chris Steele. The audience were given voting pads to respond to key questions and roving microphones allowed everyone to have their say.
When asked to vote, over three quarters (79%) of the audience said that society discriminates against obese people. Some people shared their experiences and described how difficult it can be to shift prejudices. Another voting question found that nearly a quarter of the audience (22%) thought that obese people should pay for their own treatment. These findings clearly indicate strong views about obesity and its treatment.
A large majority (86%) of the audience agreed that childhood obesity should be tackled by a combination of the government and parents ‘doing more’. However, when asked what the government should prioritise, opinion was split :
Area the government should prioritise - % of respondents
Education of adults and children - 32%
More research into obesity - 24%
A ban on advertising unhealthy foods in children’s media - 19%
An extra tax on unhealthy foods - 13%
Investment in sports facilities - 13%
Our team are based at The Nowgen Centre at the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. To find out more about the full range of Nowgen’s activities please go to: www.nowgen.co.uk.