The Cambridgeshire Health Weight Strategy comes at a time of significant and rising costs related to unhealthy weight. The costs of obesity include £5.1 billion to the NHS and other costs such as social care and days of sickness amount to £27 billion.

Communities and local organisations are being asked their views on a Strategy to reduce unhealthy weight locally. It calls for action to support children and adults achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Healthy weight is fundamental for good health and wellbeing. Around two thirds of adults in Cambridgeshire (63.6%) do not have a healthy weight and over one in five are obese. In school children, one in five (19.6%) aged 4-5 are overweight or obese rising to one in four (27.2%) amongst those aged 10-11. Child obesity doubles between the ages of 4-5 and  (7.3%) and 10-11 (15%). Underweight is also a concern, it is estimated that two-thirds of cases nationally are not reported.

Being an unhealthy weight increases the risk of poor health. Overweight or obese children are more at risk of physical and mental ill health than their healthy weight peers. Excess weight in childhood often continues in to adulthood. Being above a healthy weight increases the risk of developing serious diseases including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. It also reduces how long you are expected to live by 3-10 years.

The Strategy highlights that these costs are unaffordable and strives to address this by asking individuals, communities and organisations to work together to address the high numbers of children and adults who do not have healthy weight.

Val Thomas, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council said:  "The reasons for people having an unhealthy weight are very complex. We will not succeed in increasing the number of people who have a healthy weight and decreasing the risks to their health unless individuals, communities and organisations work together. It is important that people locally have their say, share their understanding of the issue and ideas about how we tackle this growing problem."

The Cambridgeshire Healthy Weight Strategy has been developed by Cambridgeshire County Council working with a range of partners. Individuals and organisations can contribute to the Strategy during a consultation starting 15th August 2016. People can give their views via an online survey: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/HealthyWeight/

 

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