Health bosses issue obesity warning

By Annie DavidsonHEALTH bosses have warned obesity in Tendring will reach “epidemic proportions” if action is not taken to tackle the problem. Tendring Primary Care Trust estimates there are 18,400 obese people and a further 92,000 who are overweight within its population of 138,500.

By Annie Davidson

HEALTH bosses have warned obesity in Tendring will reach “epidemic proportions” if action is not taken to tackle the problem.

Tendring Primary Care Trust estimates there are 18,400 obese people and a further 92,000 who are overweight within its population of 138,500.

Work is under way to gather more precise data on the problem, which can lead to serious health problems including diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer and mental illness.


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The trust has compiled a strategy to bring down obesity levels, warning that without action “levels of obesity will reach epidemic proportions.”

A report will go before the trust's board meeting at Lawford Venture Centre on Thursday.

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The strategy aims to provide services that can be accessed by all, such as sport and leisure services and health education in schools, while also targeting people most at risk of obesity.

People at a higher risk of developing obesity include children and adults already classed as overweight, people with disabilities, South Asians and African Caribbeans and people in low socio-economic groups living in areas of deprivation.

Obesity in children is increasing at a high rate and children who are not breastfed and begin on solids early are in the higher risk group.

Local obesity patterns are being investigated with future research into the issue planned in conjunction with Essex University.

Initiatives under way include Tendring Health Walks, which take place once a week throughout the Tendring area and Sure Start, a 10-year Government-funded programme based in Jaywick, which aims to improve all aspects of health for families with young children.

An exercise referral scheme has also been set up at Clacton Leisure Centre in partnership with Tendring Primary Care Trust, to which health professionals can direct patients who suffer from a number of conditions.

There is a similar scheme for children aged from 10 15, which is held twice a week.

In the future plans are under way to tackle the problem with initiatives including:

n lobbying stores and supermarkets to reduce or remove sweets from check-outs

n persuading private fitness clubs to offer reduced membership fees to make them more affordable

n working more closely with local action, community and voluntary groups in promoting healthy lifestyles and activities.

The report also highlighted problems with tackling obesity, which include a lack of involvement by community and voluntary groups in activities which promote a healthy lifestyle and no assessment of the weight management needs of vulnerable groups.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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