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 2009/10. (link needed)

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.

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, to influence media coverage.

Increasing the numbers 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 protect babies from: ear infections; gastro-intestinal infections, chest infections, urine infections, childhood diabetes, eczema; obesity; and  asthma.
  • Breastfeeding helps protect mothers against: ovarian cancer, breast cancer; and weak bones later in life.

There are clear associations between lack of physical activity and levels of obesity and 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 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 child hood 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. 

What we know

National

  • Levels of obesity in England have trebled since the 1980s. 
  • In England in 2005, 22.1% of men and 24.3% of women were classified as obese and almost two thirds of all adults were either overweight or obese.
  • The Foresight Report, 2007 forecasts that without action, by 2050 60% of men and 40% of women could be obese, and obesity related diseases could cost an extra £45.5 billion per year.
  • The UK Infant Feeding Survey, 2005 reported an England prevalence for breastfeeding initiation of 78%; data from maternity units reported through the NHS Omnibus Survey reported prevalence of 70% for 2007/08. 
  • The UK Infant Feeding Survey, 2005 reported an England prevalence for sustaining breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks of 50%.
  • Data from the Health Survey for England for 2003-2005 shows that across England 26.3% of adults consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
  • The Annual Survey of School Sport Partnerships reports that across England 90.0% of 5-16 year olds spent at least two hours per week on high quality PE and school sport.
  • The Active People Survey reports that 10.8% of adults across England participate in moderate intensity sport and active recreation 5 or more times per week.

Regional

  • In the absence of robust local data, synthetic estimates based on the Health Survey for England are used to compare smoking prevalence in adults (aged 16 years and over) at regional level.  These show that for 2003-2005 estimated obesity prevalence for the North East region was 23.6%.  Further information is available from: http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/
  • The NHS Omnibus Survey reported a North East prevalence for breastfeeding initiation of 54% in 2008/09.
  • Data form the Health Survey for England for 2003-2005 shows that across the North East 18.5% of adults consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
  • The Annual Survey of School Sport Partnerships reports that across the North East  90.5% of 5-16 year olds spent at least two hours per week on high quality PE and school sport.
  • The Active People Survey reports that 10.6% of adults across the North East participate in moderate intensity sport and active recreation 5 or more times per week

Local

  • In the absence of robust local data, synthetic estimates based on the Health Survey for England are used to compare smoking prevalence in adults (aged 16 years and over) in local authorities.  These show that for 2003-2005 estimated obesity prevalence for Northumberland was 26.0% - however looking at the former districts of Northumberland estimated prevalence ranged from 22.0% in Tynedale to 27.8% in Wansbeck.  Further information is available from: http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/
  • Northumberland also has an average estimated adult obesity prevalence when compared to similar PCTs (using the Prospering Smaller Towns Group of the ONS Area Classification).
  • Local commitment to the National Child Measurement programme (NCMP) continues to provide annual data on childhood obesity for children in Reception class (aged 4-5 years) and Year 6 (aged 10-11 years)
  • Coverage rates have improved year on year across Northumberland so that in 2008/09 94% of eligible children in Reception class and 89% of eligible children in Year 6 were height/weight measured. .
  • Data for 2008/09 show that:
  • 14.7% of children height/weight measured across the county were found to be obese.  This included 9.8% of Reception class children (NI 55) and 16.8% of Year 6 children (NI 56)
  • There has been a slight increase in those recorded as being ‘overweight’ (15.0% of Reception class children and 14.4% of year 6 children), possibly due to the drop in obesity, indicating a need to increase our early years work.
  • Whilst all children who are obese are of concern, obesity in boys increases dramatically from reception to year 6.
  • There is a strong correlation between obesity rates and areas that experience greater levels of disadvantage, e.g. Hirst, Seaton Valley.
  • Northumberland has a relatively high obesity prevalence for reception class children and an average obesity prevalence for year 6 children when compared to similar PCTs (using the Prospering Smaller Towns Group of the ONS Area Classification).
  • The NHS Omnibus Survey reported a Northumberland prevalence for breastfeeding initiation of 58% in 2008/09.
  • At 38.9%, breastfeeding sustaining rates at 6-8 weeks after birth are below the national average (NI 53), and inequalities exist within the county with rates in the south east corner being significantly lower than the county average. 
  • Northumberland has a relatively low reported prevalence of breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks after birth when compared to similar PCTs (using the Prospering Smaller Towns Group of the ONS Area Classification).
  • Data form the Health Survey for England for 2003-2005 shows that across Northumberland 20.0% of adults consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
  • Northumberland has the lowest estimated prevalence of healthy eating (i.e., eating 5 a day fruit and vegetables) when compared to similar PCTs (using the Prospering Smaller Towns Group of the ONS Area Classification).
  • Data form the Health Survey for England for 2003-2005 shows that across the North East 18.5% of adults consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
  • The Annual Survey of School Sport Partnerships reports that across the Northumberland  90.7% of 5-16 year olds spent at least two hours per week on high quality PE and school sport.
  • Northumberland has an average percentage of school children participating in at least 2 hours of high quality physical activity per week when compared to similar PCTs (using the Prospering Smaller Towns Group of the ONS Area Classification).
  • The Active People Survey reports that 11.2% of adults across Northumberland participate in moderate intensity sport and active recreation 5 or more times per week
  • Northumberland has an average percentage of adults across Northumberland participate in moderate intensity sport and active recreation 5 or more times per week when compared to similar PCTs (using the Prospering Smaller Towns Group of the ONS Area Classification).
  • We know that health and well being are important to schools as 90% of Northumberland’s schools have achieved the healthy schools standard, and significantly more Northumberland pupils can access 2 hours or more PE than is the case nationally (NI 57).

What people have told us

Local engagement work

Social marketing

During 2010/11 social marketing and communications approaches will be systematic applied within the obesity programme across North of Tyne to help achieve the health related behaviour goals.

Surveys

From the most recent TellUs survey it has been reported that the satisfaction of children and young people with current play space provision of young people are relatively poor.

Policy and Research

 

National

Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: strategy

Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: A Cross-Government strategy for England  was published in January 2008 as the first step in a sustained programme to combat obesity and support people to maintain a healthy weight.

Change4Life

Change4Life is England’s first ever national social marketing campaign to promote healthy weight.  It aims to prevent people from becoming overweight by encouraging them to eat well, move more and live longer. The campaign began in January 2009 and supports the overall Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy.

The National Obesity Observatory for England

The National Obesity Observatory was established to provide a single point of contact for wide-ranging authoritative information on data and evidence related to obesity, overweight, underweight and their determinants.

Regional

Better Health, Fairer Health

The North East's first ever health and wellbeing strategy was launched in February 2008.  This ambitious plan aims to transform the region into the healthiest in England within a generation.   Obesity, diet and physical activity is one of the key themes of this strategy.

Local

 

NHS North of Tyne Strategic Plan 2010-2014

The ambitious five year plan aims to improve well-being and health for almost 800,000 people living across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.  The Plan has been developed within the context of health needs assessment which shows that many of the major health conditions for the population are linked to lifestyle choices.  There is a clear link to the indicators that we have selected as World Class Commissioning (WCC) outcomes - including the measure of obesity prevalence in year 6 children and the measure of sustaining breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks after birth.

 

Annual operational plan

The North of Tyne annual operational plan sets out the developments we are planning over the next year to improve health and well-being and health services across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.  The plan has been drafted in line with national and local priorities and reflects discussions we have had over the past year with key partners including members of the public.

Releasing the Strength of our Communities

The current Sustainable Community Strategy for Northumberland was adopted by the partnership in September 2007 and covers the period to 2021.  It outlines an aspirational long-term vision for the communities of Northumberland and defines a series of shared priority outcomes that form the basis for delivering a fundamental step change to the quality of life in Northumberland.  “Lead healthier lifestyles” is one of the key themes of the strategy.  The Strategy will be updated during 2010/11.

 

Local Area Agreement

Northumberland’s Local Area Agreement 2008-2011, and refreshed targets as at March 2010 include a targets for the prevalence of obesity in Reception class children and children in year 6.

 

Healthy lives, stronger communities

A strategy to improve health and well-being in Northumberland, published in 2007, includes tackling obesity as a priority.

Our Priorities for the Future

Key priorities are:

  • 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 peoples lives, and not just focused 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 from £69million in 2007/08 to £103 million in 2015 if the current trend in rise in obesity continues.
  • 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.