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Yanaina Chavez-Ugalde

Name: Yanaina Chavez-Ugalde

Based at: University of Bristol

Supervisors: Frank de Vocht (University of Bristol), Russ Jago (University of Bristol), Matt Egan (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

Project title: Approaching evaluations of public health interventions to tackle obesity from a complex systems perspective

Project summary: My PhD project aims to develop and use systems theory to describe the complexity of the public health ‘obesity’ system in relation to commercial food systems. In doing so, it aims to further develop a sub-system and quantitatively capture its actors and interconnections in a dynamic system, which in turn can be used to assess different policy scenarios. This aim will be achieved through the following objectives:

  • Carrying out a systematic review to define what are the commercial determinants of obesity in adolescence, develop a framework by which these factors can be operationalised and quantified.
  • Carrying out systems mapping workshops with stakeholders (adolescents, academics and policymakers) to develop system maps where commercial activities, that have an influence determining obesity in adolescence, will be identified by the different stakeholders. These different maps will be discussed (to find similarities and differences between them) and finally merged into one that represents most of the stakeholder views.
  • Using a system dynamic modelling methodology, the map developed in the previous phase will be quantified and will be used to model different policy scenarios for assessment and comparison of intended and unintended impacts

Practice engagement: The progress of my project has been shared with practice partners Claire McIver, [Public Health and Adult Social Care, Stoke-on-Trent City Council], James Nobles [Senior Research Associate CLAHRC West], and the advisory group (Prof Martin White and Prof Steven Cummins) to receive feedback and improve methodology as well as double-checking relevance of the project. I’ve presented the progress of my project in academic seminars at the Medical School and School for Policy Studies, and presented academic posters at the Annual Scientific Meeting SPHR in Newcastle 2019 and at the International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity in Prague.

Public engagement: Phase 2 of my project (Systems mapping workshops) will be co-created with adolescents, policymakers and academics in order to be used in a policy setting and test obesity prevention strategies. I’ve been engaging with Claire McIver, [Public Health and Adult Social Care, Stoke-on-Trent City Council], James Nobles [Senior Research Associate CLAHRC West] and Peter Gee [Public Involvement Officer, DECIPHer] to plan, engage and develop the workshops. Results of the mapping workshops will be shared with the stakeholders to refine and validate them.

Find out more about Yanaina’s work.

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