Saturday, 30 November 2013

Figures show we're getting bigger



Figures released by NHS Ayrshire & Arran reveal the area’s ‘growing’ problem.

According to the health board, obesity has risen significantly in both children and adults over the past couple of decades.  In Ayrshire, there are around 190,000 overweight adults, 87,000 obese adults and 11,600 morbidly obese adults.  Almost one-in-five children are considered to be an unhealthy weight by the time they start primary school.  Although of concern, the figures are in line with the rest of Scotland.

Ruth Campbell, Consultant Dietician in Public Health Nutrition, said, “Each year the NHS spends millions of pounds treating obesity-related diseases.  Being overweight puts people at higher risk from a range of health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, muscle and joint disorders and some types of cancer.  Children who are an unhealthy weight are likely to have poorer physical and mental health than children who are a healthy weight.”

Ms Campbell indicated NHS Ayrshire & Arran is now compiling a draft Healthy Weight Strategy in partnership with the area’s three local authorities – North Ayrshire Council, East Ayrshire Council and South Ayrshire Council.  The initiative will also deliver a comprehensive action plan, setting-out the health board’s proposals to help local people achieve the healthiest weight.

The action plan has seven key themes: increased awareness, knowledge, skills and empowerment; improved maternal and infant nutrition; availability and affordability of healthier food and drinks; active travel and active workplaces; built/natural environment and infrastructure for active travel; physical activity; and weight management.

Ruth Campbell said, “We want to ensure this strategy reflects the views of the public and that the action plan will meet the needs of local people.

“Over the next three months, we will be meeting members of the public, local authority staff - including school and nursery staff - and NHS staff to find out what they think about the draft strategy and whether it meets our vision of the healthiest weight possible for everyone in Ayrshire and Arran.”

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