Our body weight is affected mostly by what we eat and how physically active we are.
Being overweight or obese is linked to many different conditions including heart disease, strokes, diabetes, some cancers and high blood pressure. A healthy weight throughout life is linked to wellbeing, good health and living longer.
A healthy weight depends on how much we eat and how much energy we use up in our daily activities. Too much food or too little activity means the unused energy gets stored as fat and we can end up overweight or obese. There are some medical conditions that can lead to weight gain, but these are rare.
Obesity is a medical term. People can fall within different weight ranges, for example obese, overweight or a healthy weight. Enter your weight and height into the NHS calculator to check which range you fall into.
Wiltshire's obesity strategy
Wiltshire’s obesity strategy Wiltshire’s obesity strategy 724kb sets out the strategic objectives needed to ensure that everyone in Wiltshire is enabled to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, Body Mass Index (BMI) range of 18.5 to 24.9. Achieving a healthy weight for all in Wiltshire could result in up to 230,000 residents living between three and nine years longer and an annual saving to the taxpayer of more than £118 million. This strategy provides a framework for working collaboratively across Wiltshire to achieve a downward trend in the levels of obesity in line with the national ambition.
Obesity in adults
20 years ago about 1 in every 7 adults was obese. In 2012 the figure for Wiltshire was 1 in every 4 adults. This is a concern because carrying extra fat (especially around the middle where it surrounds vital organs) is known to be linked to numerous conditions including heart disease, several cancers, stroke, type 2 diabetes and depression.
Advice on healthy diet and keeping active for adults
Getting to a healthy weight (or keeping it as we get older) requires us to eat a healthy diet with enough calories and nutrients for our needs, whilst being physically active enough. The NHS website has advice on eating a healthy diet.
For physical activity it is recommended that adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days every week. This can be broken down into shorter lots e.g 10 minutes, three times a day. Moderate activity means anything that makes your heart and lungs work a little harder than usual such as: brisk walking; gardening; cycling; housework. You can find out more about how much and what kind of physical activity keeps us healthy using the NHS physical activity guide.
Obesity in children has increased over the last 20 years. Last year in Wiltshire 1 child in every 5 measured (age 4 to 5) was overweight or obese. This figure rose to 1 child in every 3 by year 6 (age 10/11).
Every council area in England takes part in the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). This involves measuring the height and weight of reception and year 6 children in state maintained schools every year. The results help us understand trends in underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obesity in children.
This helps Wiltshire Council, the NHS and other organisations to plan what support might be needed and what kind of services to put in place.
Advice for parents
- Every year parents of children in Reception and Year 6 classes are sent their child’s NCMP result so that they know how their child is developing and whether they currently have a healthy weight for their age. Children’s weight can be checked using the NHS calculator
- NHS advice on diet and physical activity for healthy growth in children is available on their website
- Families can register for free with Change4Life and get lots of practical information about healthy recipes, things to do to keep active and much more.
- Advice to parents on how to talk to their child about weight issues is available from the charity Weight Concern
Healthy weight support available in Wiltshire
Your doctor or nurse can refer you to:
- Weight Watchers or Slimming World: free 12 week attendance at a local group for adults an adult or child over 11 (if you meet certain criteria)
- Counterweight weight loss programme (if it runs at your surgery)
- Active Health – 12 week physical activity programme at a local leisure centre for ages 16 and above (if you meet certain criteria)
- Dietician appointment (if you need specialist advice and support)
- Child / family healthy weight programme - SHINE healthy living course for families with overweight child age 7-11 (from September 2014) – tel: 01225 716674 or email: email@example.com
- Children’s Centres: if you use a Children’s Centre, ask about any cooking / healthy eating activities such as Any Body Can Cook or HEY! courses.
- Information on leisure, sport and recreation in Wiltshire including swimming, local walking and cycling opportunities.
- Schools: your school nurse can give healthy weight advice; additionally your child’s school may provide a range of healthy eating and physical activity based lessons and after-school activities.
- If you’d like to do more family activities outdoors, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust have a range of activities to benefit your health and wellbeing.
More help for families
Last updated: 17 March 2016