June 22, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Have your say on reducing obesity in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

People across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are being asked to help shape a plan to support people to achieve and maintain a healthier weight.

Called the Healthier Weight Strategy, it aims to enable communities and organisations to work together to help people lead healthy and active lives.

It is now accepted that the cause of obesity is not as simple as lacking willpower, eating too much and moving too little. It is actually much more complex with genetic, psychological, sociocultural, economic and environmental factors all playing a part.

Have your say on Cornwall's Healthier Weight Strategy

One of the biggest influences on weight is the environment around us. The more access people have to affordable, nutritious food and opportunities to be active, the more likely they are to be healthy and active.

This is why reducing obesity and supporting healthier weight is everyone’s responsibility, and a county-wide strategy is needed.

Rachel Wigglesworth, Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said:

“The Healthier Weight Strategy describes how we will work with our partners and communities to positively change the environmental and societal factors that drive obesity, through a whole systems approach.

“It also describes how we will work with residents in a compassionate and non-judgemental way and how we will strive to create an environment free from weight stigma.

“This strategy is not something that can be delivered by one organisation alone and must be owned by the whole system that contributes to healthier weight to create meaningful and long-term change.

“That is why we are inviting members of the public and our stakeholders to have their say on the draft Healthier Weight Strategy for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

Living with obesity or being overweight is associated with reduced life expectancy and a range of long-term diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and at least 12 types of cancer.

There is also a significant stigma associated with obesity, which can have a devastating impact on people’s mental health. A recent report showed that nine out of 10 adults living with obesity have been criticised or abused because of this.

Latest statistics for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly show:

  • 22.5% of reception age children are living with overweight or obesity. This is similar to the England average. (2022/23 data for children).
  • 32.7% of year 6 children are living with overweight or obesity. This is lower than the England average.
  • 65.5% of adults in Cornwall are living with overweight or obesity. This is similar to the England average. (2021/22 data for adults).
  • 53.6% of adults in the Isles of Scilly are overweight or obese. This is lower than the England average.

Cllr Dr Andy Virr, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health at Cornwall Council, said:

“Evidence is now clear that the biggest factor influencing weight is the environments in which people live. Research also shows that obesity affects some people more than others. This is because the conditions of their lives are different, not that they lack motivation or will power.

“To have a real impact on obesity, we need to work together to address its many root causes. This is why I would urge as many people and organisations as possible take the time to have their say on our Healthier Weight Strategy.”

For more information and to share your views on the strategy, visit the Let’s Talk Cornwall website.

All responses to the survey will be reviewed and used to inform the final version of the strategy.

Press release issued on December 13, 2023.

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