People who are overweight or obese

People who are overweight or obese

Obesity is a multi-factorial problem consisting of a complex interplay of different environmental, biological and social determinants. It requires a multi-agency response and cross agency funding and monitoring, to both prevent and manage the issues arising.

More details about these headline statistics is available in the NHS North of Tyne strategic health needs assessment.

Obesity may be considered a disease in itself, and as a risk for other diseases. For children, obesity can result in type 2 diabetes, hypertension and psychological problems. For adults, additionally, it may result in coronary heart disease and some cancers.

The foresight report referred to the ‘complex web of societal and biological factors that have, in recent decades, exposed our inherent human vulnerability to weight gain’.  Societal and environmental factors highlight the need for health trusts to work in partnership with other statutory and non-statutory organisations to, for example, increase access to physical activity, increase cycling lanes and safe routes to school and to influence media coverage.

Increasing the number of women who choose to breastfeed their babies remains an important priority in improving health and reducing health inequalities. The importance of improving breastfeeding rates is recognised nationally and locally, since it contributes to both short term and long term benefits to child and maternal health.

Breastfeeding helps protects babies from:
  • ear infections
  • gastro-intestinal infections
  • chest infections
  • urine infections
  • childhood diabetes
  • eczema
  • obesity
  • asthma
Breastfeeding helps protect mothers against the following, later in life:
  • ovarian cancer
  • breast cancer
  • weak bones
There are clear associations between lack of physical activity and levels of obesity and also between poor diet and levels of obesity.

Key messages

Obesity remains a relatively new area requiring investment, against a backdrop of a significant increase in prevalence. The need to fund prevention to reduce chronic disease and future heavy costs to the NHS cannot be under estimated.

Based on the foresight report, it is estimated that the costs to NHS North of Tyne for morbidity caused by obesity will escalate to £103 million by 2015 if the current trend in obesity continues. However, government targets on halting the increase in childhood obesity are currently being met.

Despite the widely acknowledged benefits of breastfeeding, the percentage of women who choose to breastfeed their babies in the three North of Tyne PCOs is well below the national average.

There is a clear need for better data about the lifestyle choices people make about diet and physical activity across Northumberland.

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