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Strategy agreed to the meet the challenge of the obesity epidemic head on

Strategy agreed to the meet the challenge of the obesity epidemic head on

“By 2020 Wiltshire will be a place where all individuals, families and communities are informed, enabled, motivated and empowered to achieve and maintain a healthy weight” – that is the vision of a local strategy agreed today. Although obesity is a global problem, one in three children aged 10-11 years old and 61.6% of adults in Wiltshire are either overweight or obese. Wiltshire Council, in partnership with NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), have worked together to develop a strategy to help turn the problem around and encourage a healthy happier population. A wide range of stakeholders from the voluntary and independent sectors have engaged and been involved in the development of the strategy with the public also consulted for their views. As a sign of further commitment to change the local picture, Wiltshire’s second Obesity Summit took place recently, hosted by Wiltshire Council and the CCG. This saw a range of health professionals and organisations come together to look at the draft strategy and focus on how it can be successfully delivered. With a host of inspiring speakers and workshops focussing on each of the key priorities of the strategy, the summit proved to be a very worthwhile and productive event. Although with lots of work still to do, the situation is slowly improving in Wiltshire as results for the 2015 school year show a reduction in the levels of childhood obesity in Wiltshire. Levels of excess weight (overweight or obese) in children in reception year have reduced to 20.3% in 2015 from 22.1% in 2014. People who are overweight and obese have an increased risk of developing a range of chronic diseases that can have a significant impact on health. These include increased risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, kidney and liver disease and some cancers, as well as lower quality of life and premature mortality. Preventing a 1% prevalence of overweight and obesity could produce savings to NHS Wiltshire of around £1.18 million per year. A 5% reduction in prevalence could lead to a saving of £5.9 million and 10% reduction would lead to £11.8 million. Within the strategy, four priority areas have been identified: • Focus on prevention for everyone of all ages, particularly on services that support healthy choices and targeting support to disadvantaged groups at high risk of obesity in our communities • Focus on giving children the best start in life, particularly on providing healthy lifestyle initiatives and maximising the number of children starting school with a healthy weight • Focus on effective self-care, early intervention and treatment for those who are overweight or obese, providing a range of self-care support for individuals to achieve and maintain a healthy weight • Changing the environment we live in to ensure healthy food and activity choices are the easy and preferred choice The strategy has been formally agreed by Wiltshire Council’s cabinet and NHS Wiltshire CCG’s Governing Body. Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health said: “Obesity is an issue we are taking very seriously in Wiltshire and we’re determined to do all we can to improve people’s health and encourage behavioural change – for the benefit of our future generations. “ It’s not something we can do alone though and we will continue to work positively with colleagues and partners and ensure our strategy is as effective as it can be.” Dr Lindsay Kinlin GP at Avenue Surgery in Warminster comments: “An unhealthy lifestyle has a huge impact on your health and can lead to life threatening illness such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. “We all have busy lives, but taking the time to make small changes in your diet, or just doing some form of exercise, no matter what, will make a huge different in helping you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and live well for longer. “Making sure we stay healthy and live well is our own responsibility – start making those changes today and give yourself a chance of enjoying a longer, healthier life.”


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