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09 July 2018

Partners collaborating to help people to work towards a healthier weight

It is encouraging that not only are more of our adults being physically active, fewer are physically inactive, however more than 65% adults are overweight or obese which remains a cause for concern, and something we are all keen to address

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, public health and public protection

Wiltshire Council and partners have marked the progress made in their efforts to tackle obesity and are aiming for more improvements in the county's health.

During last week's Childhood Obesity Week (2 8 July) a summit meeting called Working Towards A Healthier Weight was held at County Hall, Trowbridge. At the summit council leaders and partners reflected on work already done and discussed new ways to encourage Wiltshire residents to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Among the many delegates in attendance there were representatives from a number of organisations including the NHS, Virgin Care, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Wiltshire Council, Great Western Hospital, Royal United Hospital and Salisbury Foundation Trust.

Since Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) launched a joint obesity strategy in 2016 there has been an 4.9% increase in adults aged 40-74 having their NHS Health Check. The programme helps identify risk of cardiovascular disease and helps to highlight how lifestyle factors such as being overweight can contribute to these diseases developing.

However, childhood obesity rates have stayed steady against a rising national trend.

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council's cabinet member for adult social care, public health and public protection, said: "A healthy weight is key to good health generally, and we are dedicated to helping the people of the county tackle harmful weight gain.

"That means promoting messages about the importance of good diet and regular exercise, and providing opportunities to help people make sensible lifestyle choices.

"It is encouraging that not only are more of our adults being physically active, fewer are physically inactive, however more than 65% adults are overweight or obese which remains a cause for concern, and something we are all keen to address."

Ted Wilson community and joint commissioning director, NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: "The Working Towards a Healthy Weight Summit was an opportunity to share what we have all achieved to halt the rise of obesity. The Summit demonstrated how individuals and organisations are working together to create an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle to  generate long-term, sustainable change, and provided new ideas and solutions to address  this global issue.                     

"The CCG is committed to supporting individuals living and working in Wiltshire, to make healthy choices , to take personal responsibility for their health, and to make those lifestyle changes that will ultimately help people to live longer."

Since the joint Obesity Strategy was launched in 2016, many initiatives have moved forward, including:

  • The Get Wiltshire Walking project has 2,400 registered walkers and 157 trained volunteer walk leaders
  • Council health trainers supported over 800 clients, 40% more than the previous year
  • More than 500 companies received nutritional advice from the food standards team
  • In 2016/17 there were over 3.3m visits to Wiltshire Council leisure and sports centres, and increased attendance in community sports and physical activity programmes
  • Council leisure centres offer affordable gym memberships, including discounted membership for young people
  • More than 25,000 people have participated in Wiltshire's Big Pledge activity challenge over the last two years
  • A Healthy Weight 4 Life e-toolkit has been published on the council website
  • Free swimming for under 16s in school holidays continues to attract thousands of children

Among the partners at the summit were Solutions4Health, an innovative company Wiltshire Council has just started working with.  They run a referral programme called ShapeUp4Life (SU4L), which is a free 12 week weight management programme that supports people to lose weight and keep it off long term. Run in groups of 12 15 people in the daytime, evening and at weekends. Courses are run in community settings and are interactive, practical and discussion based. More information about their service can be found online.

The Working Towards a Healthier Weight Summit featured talks and presentations by medical professionals as well as health and council leaders. Guests were welcomed with an address by Cllr Wickham.

For more information about exercise and achieving a healthy weight for people of all ages people should visit our website.

Wiltshire Council's integrated public health and leisure management team offers many programmes and services that improve health and wellbeing and promote active lifestyles. More information can be found on our leisure page.

Last updated: 9 July 2018 | Last reviewed: 9 July 2018

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