At commissioner's request

Rates of obesity have dramatically increased over the last decade and 1 in 3 children aged 11 years in England are overweight or obese. The prevention of unhealthy weight, identification and signposting to relevant services for those of unhealthy weight is high priority as set out in Healthy Lives, Healthy People, 2010. 

Information about children’s weight is provided to parents via the National Child Measurement programme, this is one step toward getting information to parents – but our research shows that professionals (health and non-health) who work with children and families are not fully aware of relevance and interpretation of the body mass index in children. In addition they are not equipped to raise this sensitive issue with families and unable to carry out focussed brief intervention advice within their busy working schedules as making sense of the plethora of information and guidelines in the public domain is a burdensome task. 

Our competency based programme can enable a wide public health workforce including  front line staff and managers to address the causes of unhealthy weight and hence avert the associated medical and psychosocial consequences which affect those most vulnerable in our communities.

Addressing obesity requires a multi-faceted approach well grounded in theory with a multidisciplinary approach including public health in its widest definition: psychology, physiology, and organisational behaviour. The CHALK programme responds to the post Marmot review recommendations for a ‘Fair society’ with capacity building and access for the most vulnerable a key focus of the programme.

CHALK comprises:

  • bespoke capacity building training and mentoring for those working with children and families across the public, private and third sector
  • community based interventions targeted at children and families 

More information

Course aims

  • To recognise one’s own opportunities for promoting healthy weight in children
  • To know the causes and consequences of overweight in children
  • To know how diet and nutrition can help to achieve healthy weight
  • To know how physical activity can help to achieve healthy weight
  • To provide confidence in raising the issue of unhealthy weight with children and families through brief intervention
  • To transfer knowledge within one’s own organisation 

Who should attend?

Health and non-health professionals working in the public, private sector or third sector who deliver or manage services for children and families.

To date we have trained participants from over 100 occupations, including GPs, paediatricians, sports coaches, library staff, foster parents, local borough summer play workers, school nurses, head teachers, health visitors.

Course methods and accreditation

Bespoke course delivered within the locality of the commissioner or centrally at Imperial College, London.

Based on robust pedagogical theory, learner support needs and resources, the programme is delivered using interactive presentations, group work; scenarios and self reflection. The programme is supported by a virtual learning environment to facilitate post-training implementation of learning and knowledge transfer to peers.

For level 1: One full day or two half days
For level 2: Three full days or 6 half days


The programme was commissioned by the Department of Health in 2008. All participants will receive an Imperial College London Certificate of Attendance on completion of the programme. The programme is  accredited by the London Public Health Network.

Comments from past participants

"I have been re-enthused to discuss plus sign- post to other programmes"

GP, Lambeth

"All councillors need this training, to know what the obesogenic environment is"

Councillor, London