Initial themes that were identified through direct contact and engagement with the Regional Refugee Forum and North East Women in Action included:
- Lack of understanding and support from GPs towards people who are overweight from BAME communities. People expressed that GPs advise weight loss but do not direct to support agencies.
- The need for increased promotion of the available services and how to eat healthy through community events.
- Further discussion and feedback from Ethnic & Minorities Training & Education Project (EMTEP) and the LINX Project confirmed that there was a general lack of understanding of what help was available, how to access the help and if the service met the needs of BAME communities. Due to trends in the data collected, the Healthwatch Middlesbrough Board made a decision to further investigate dietary information and support for BAME communities regarding weight loss.
Following publication of this report, we received a response from Public Health Middlesbrough, which recognised our findings.