Actions to address the greatest public health challenge of our generation – obesity - announced

17 Jan 2019 12:07 PM

A consultation on the Welsh Government’s new plan to combat the greatest public health challenge facing Wales – obesity – has been launched by Health Minister Vaughan Gething.

Called ‘Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales’, the consultation outlines the actions to be taken to help people in Wales maintain a healthy weight.

The UK has one of the highest levels of obesity in Western Europe. In Wales, twenty seven percent of four-five year olds and sixty percent of our adults are overweight.

Being overweight increases the risk of developing major health conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. It is also a risk to people’s mental health leading to low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.

The proposals set out in the consultation have a strong focus on prevention and are supported by research and international evidence from Public Health Wales into what can help the people to be a healthy weight. 

The evidence has informed the content of the plan which is broken into four themes:

Vaughan Gething yesterday said: 

“Too many people in Wales are overweight or obese. 

“Our high rates of overweight four to five year olds is a matter of national concern. This government is not prepared to let a poor diet or physical inactivity be defining features in the lives of our children and young people.

“We know that many of us want to eat healthier or do more exercise. However, fitting this into our busy lives can appear to be an overwhelming challenge. Creating an environment where it is normal and easy for us all to eat well and be physically active can make a significant difference and nudge us to change our daily routines. 

“We want to encourage people to manage their own health and wellbeing, to lose weight and to be active. The long term sustainability of the NHS is at stake.

“We want people in Wales to have long, healthy happy lives.  Being a healthy weight is a central part of achieving that goal. 

“Tackling the root causes of why people become overweight is complex; it will require intervention at every level. We are under no illusion - there is no quick fix or easy solution to this problem. The proposals outlined today are based on the best evidence available of what could work to turn the tide on obesity.

“This is an issue we simply cannot ignore, it is the greatest public health challenge facing our generation and I urge people to engage fully with this consultation.”