Healthy weight

Healthy weight

Levels of obesity, linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and non-smoking related cancers, have been increasing in Northumberland, and are predicted to rise further. Engaging in regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet are extremely important in helping maintaining a healthy body weight.

Key priorities

Key priorities include improving the physical health of children and young people, especially focusing on those living in more disadvantaged communities.

Integrated care pathways for obesity (children and adults) have been developed across North of Tyne. However, further investment is essential to scale up prevention and early intervention work, especially to increase capacity in targeted intervention programmes and treatment of obesity through more drugs, prior to consideration for surgery.

We need to increase capacity across the statutory, third and commercial sectors to deal with increased demand, to develop more emphasis on the ‘life course approach’, where interventions are targeted across people’s lives and not just focus on children, and to link our interventions to the demand resulting from the national social marketing campaign.

The regional health and wellbeing strategy emphasises the need to scale up obesity drug prescribing and bariatric surgery to meet demand. Estimated costs to the NHS for North of Tyne related to obesity morbidity are set to rise form £69 million in 2007/08, to £103 million in 2015 if the current trend in rise in obesity continues.

Other key priorities include:
  • improving the rate of initiating and sustaining breastfeeding in more disadvantaged communities
  • accessible and effective activities promoting healthier food choices should be commissioned to improve North of Tyne population’s health
  • accessible and effective activities promoting healthier physical activity choices should be commissioned to improve North of Tyne population’s health

Key messages

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

Based on the foresight report, it is estimated that the costs to the NHS North of Tyne for morbidity caused by obesity will escalate to £103 million by 2015, if the current trend in obesity prevalence continues.

There is a mismatch between need and current capacity for prevention and treatment services for obesity, including weight management programmes, drug prescribing and bariatric surgery.

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.


Statistics can be found on the state of health web page.

Key documents