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New plans to tackle obesity in Wales published

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plump woman in sportswear with measuring tape
Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle has unveiled an updated All Wales Weight Management Pathway which supports the development and delivery of weight management services in Wales.

For the first time there is a children, young people, and families pathway in addition to the adult pathway which will provide a different approach to support younger people.

A total of £2.9 million in funding will be made available for health boards to develop their local pathways and to support implementation of the guidance.

The new All Wales Weight Management pathway focuses on the weight management journey, from early intervention to specialist support. It provides guidance to those looking to commission weight management services as well as to those providing a service, recommending minimum requirements and expectations to guide and treat people with differing levels of need.

It has been developed in partnership with professionals including dietitians, nutritionists, psychologists and doctors working in this field across weight management drawing on the best available international evidence.

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The UK has one of the highest levels of obesity in Western Europe. In Wales, 27% of four-five year olds in reception class and sixty percent of our adults are overweight. The latest Public Health Wales ‘How are we doing’ report shows that 43% of people believe that their weight has increased in the last year.

Being overweight increases the risk of developing major health conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. It is also a risk to people’s mental health leading to low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.

Ahead of launching the new pathway, the Deputy Minister attended a virtual meeting and spoke with Dr Sarah Aitken, Director of Public Health and Strategic Partnerships from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. Dr Aitken explained how the new funding would be used to improve weight management services within the health board area, and how these plans fit with wider prevention schemes, such as the Blaenau Gwent Sustainable Food Communities Programme.

Eryl Powell from Aneurin Bevan Gwent Public Health Team alongside Andrew Myatt, and Chris Nottingham from Tai Calon Housing Association explained more about the programme’s ambitious plans to address food poverty, promote healthy eating and end food waste within the county

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Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said: “We have updated the guidelines following a review conducted by Public Health Wales (PHW), the new advice brings greater clarity for service providers and has been created by working with PHW and clinicians. The new pathway understands that there can be numerous and complex reasons to why a person may need support with their weight management, with a strong focus on how mental health can affect people’s physical health.

“The last year has put a huge focus on our health and wellbeing, the new pathway will provide compassionate support in helping people on their weight management journey and will run alongside our Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy to encourage people to make healthier choices and lead more active lives.”


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