The director of public health at NHS Grampian has highlighted the need to tackle obesity in the north-east.
Two-thirds of the adult population are now classed as “overweight” and there is increasing evidence obesity is starting in childhood.
In an effort to combat that worrying trend, the health board will this week outline a new evidence-based vision for a healthier and more active north-east.
Details of the health problem and the steps being proposed to tackle it are outlined in reports by Susan Webb which will be discussed at today’s meeting of Grampian NHS Board.
Obesity: It’s Time to Talk and A healthier and more active future for the North East of Scotland explore the complex nature of obesity and its numerous causes, as well as looking at preventative methods.
In the reports, Ms Webb writes: “With younger generations becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese into adulthood, and two thirds of our adult population overweight or obese, we need to find a way to talk about it without causing people to feel guilty or judged.”
Although physical activity and exercise can help to maintain body weight, studies have found that one third of adults who get enough physical exercise are still overweight.
Focusing on creating a healthy food environment to encourage healthy diets, enabling a physically active population and promoting health will all help people to achieve a healthy weight.
Obesity can result in cancer, disability, diabetes, discrimination and also impacts on people’s social, physical and mental health.
Alongside poor diet, it is the single largest cause of disease and premature death across Scotland and the North East.
Obesity It’s Time to Talk also notes that when money is “short” it is harder to buy nutritious meals as processed food tends to be cheaper and more convenient.
It pointed out a particular concern over the north-east’s growing dependence on food banks.
The active future report outlines numerous additional steps to close the gap between their vision and current reality.
One calls upon local public authorities to support community food initiatives and another calls on employers to encourage active travel to work.
Concluding the report is a proposal to convene a quarterly group that will oversee and help to implement the 20 actions outlined.