Obesity is one of the biggest health challenges we face in society. The
Government is committed to taking action to reverse the rising tide of
obesity. Almost 1 in 4 adults in England are currently obese, and if we
carry on as we are by 2050, 9 in 10 adults will be overweight or obese. The
cost of overweight and obese individuals to the NHS is estimated to be
£4.2 billion and is forecasted to more than double by 2050. The cost
to the wider economy is £16 billion, and this is predicted to rise to
£50 billion per year by 2050 if left unchecked.
In January 2008 the Government published 'Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: A
Cross-Government Strategy for England'. £372 million has been made
available to implement the strategy, which sets out how the Government will
enable everyone in society to maintain a healthy weight.
The Department of Health South West (DHSW) has developed a regional Healthy
Weight, Healthy Lives action plan to support PCTs and local authorities to
implement the national strategy. The plan brings together the
regional contributors of Food & Nutrition, Physical Activity and
Healthy Weight and supports central DH within the South West region to:
- Develop and support delivery chain networks
- Disseminate high-quality, timely and useful information
- strengthen local delivery chain capability,
- co-ordinate partners at operational and strategic level
- build the evidence base for effective intervention
To enable these core aims, DH South West have expanded their capacity by
appointing three Sub-regional obesity co-ordinators, a Physical activity
lead and a recently appointed breastfeeding early years co-ordinator.
Within the first year the expanded regional team have worked across the
South West working closely with local leads and partnerships. Stakeholders
from PCT’s and local authorities have accessed support and
co-ordination through local, sub-regional and regional network meetings,
workshops, a regional conference and a web-based information portal.
The web-based information portal, “ the healthy weight for children
hub ” commissioned by DHSW now acts as a one-stop-shop for
professionals to access high quality data and information, to network with
fellow professionals, to share best practice and to keep informed about
events/workshops. The hub, managed by the SWPHO, also proactively supports
network members through the dissemination of a monthly newsletter.
As part of the DHSW commitment to developing the evidence base on tackling
obesity, SWPHO have been commissioned to build local capacity in monitoring
and evaluation through the delivery of workshops and web-based toolkits and
are working closely with the National Obesity Observatory and IDeA on this
Additionally, a number of demonstration projects across the region have
been grant-aided to expand evaluation scope and disseminate learning
regionally, nationally and internationally.
Further support for areas will be provided by DHSW through a regional peer
review programme, due for launch in autumn 2009. The first phase of the
programme will review the local partnership approach to adult obesity
building on information submitted to NHS South West in response to the SW
Healthy Weight Healthy Lives – Regional Manager
Department of Health South West