Wiltshire’s third annual obesity summit took place on Friday (21 July), with a range of organisations meeting to discuss the positive strides taken to tackle this important public health issue.
The summit, hosted by Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, saw the launch of a new toolkit designed to support people of all ages to achieve and maintain a healthy weight right through their lives. Called ‘Healthy Weight 4 Life’, the online toolkit contains a breadth of advice, guidance and signposting broken down into five sections; pregnancy, your baby, early years, children and young people, and adults.
In addition to Wiltshire Council and the CCG, other organisations represented at the summit included Great Western Hospital, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Royal United Hospital, Virgin Care, representation from early years settings and Healthwatch Wiltshire.
It has been a year since the joint council and CCG obesity strategy was launched and the progress of the last 12 months was discussed at the summit.
Some of the highlights include:
- Wiltshire childhood obesity figures staying steady, despite national increase
- Maternal Healthy Me programme pilot was launched – a specialist healthy lifestyle in pregnancy service that saw more than 200 expectant mothers take part
- Twelve Healthy Me programmes were run, which saw more than 100 children take part. The programme supports children and families to get more active and make positive diet choices. 82% of the children took part reduced their BMI score
- Slimming on referral produced positive results – more than 2,500 adults took part with more than 70% achieving a 5% weight loss through Weight Watchers or Slimming World programmes
- Council health trainers hosted six healthy eating sessions for students with learning disabilities at Fairfield College
- 118 schools are taking part in the council’s Healthy Schools programme and so far 56 have achieved bronze, silver or gold accreditation
- Big Pledge campaign, which encourages people to be more active, has seen more than 11,000 get involved this year
- Uptake in free NHS health checks for 40 – 74-year-olds has increased by 8.9% across Wiltshire
- Wiltshire is participating in the National Diabetes Prevention Programme, which provides a 12-week intervention programme for pre-diabetics to support a healthier lifestyle
- Fit and Fed programme helped children to make healthy lunches in the school holidays
- The Wiltshire local authority area is the fourth most active out of 326
Despite progress this year the organisations represented at the summit are still keen to make greater long-term improvements. Overall in Wiltshire one in five children in reception year is overweight or obese, one in three children in year 6 is overweight or obese, and more than six out of 10 adults are overweight or obese.
Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health said: “Obesity is a global problem, not just in Wiltshire, but we are all determined to work together to ensure the momentum of what we’ve achieved so far continues, and it’s heartening to see so many organisations as committed as we are to tackle this issue.
“There isn’t one solution to this problem and we all have a responsibility to do our bit to help, but collectively I think we can make a real difference now and that will have a massive impact for generations to come.”
Ted Wilson, NHS Wiltshire CCG director of community services and joint commissioning said: The Obesity Summit was an opportunity to hear about the success stories from lots of organisations who are doing incredible things to halt the rise of obesity. It is all of our responsibility to do everything we can to halt the rise of obesity and support individuals living and working in Wiltshire to not only make healthy choices, but to make the healthy choice the easiest option.
“The summit provided the focus for all organisations to understand what progress had been made in achieving obesity strategy targets and identified new ideas and actions to tackle this global problem for Wiltshire residents.”
The Healthy Weight 4 Life toolkit can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-weight