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Welsh Government announces £13m plan to reduce obesity

2nd Mar 2022 - 07:00
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Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing Lynne Neagle confirmed the new funding will be used to try to prevent and reduce obesity levels, particularly in areas of deprivation.

Neagle announced details of the plan whilst joining children at Ysgol y Graig in Merthyr Tydfil on the first day of the Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign, which aims to get children eating vegetables. Enabling schools and other education settings to be places where physical and mental health are supported as a priority is a key part of the new delivery plan.

Local public health teams in Merthyr, Anglesey and Cardiff have been given funding to run three pilot Children and Families Programmes. The programmes will work with schools and other local settings to deliver activities that support families to plan, prepare and cook healthier food.

The next two years of Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales will also have a strong emphasis on recovery from the pandemic. As part of the plan, a new All Wales Diabetes Prevention Programme will be rolled out to provide support, backed by £1m annual funding.

Neagle said: “We are ambitious for Wales to be one of the first countries to see a reduction in obesity. This is our second delivery plan for Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales and our focus is on prevention. The pandemic has brought about extra challenges and the new plan will reflect this.

“There is a clear link between obesity and deprivation. Obesity rates are around 7% higher in areas of high deprivation for children. We also know that this tracks into adulthood, with obesity being linked to higher rates of illness in those areas. We are determined to improve health inequalities and reducing obesity levels will go a long way to achieving that.”

A public consultation will also be launched in the spring which will ask for public opinion on a range of measures including price promotions, calorie labelling, planning and licensing.

Professor Kelechi Nnoaham, director of public health at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, added: “As a health board, we are committed to do all we can to reduce obesity. Obesity is a complex challenge and we know that there are no simple solutions.

“The only way to make progress is to work together in partnership with the government, local authorities, and organisations such as schools and community groups. Everyone plays a role in making it easier for people to live healthier lives.”

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Written by
Edward Waddell