Shocking figures reveal local obesity problem

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Figures releaed by the Northern Trust have revealed that 23 percent of children in primary one are overweight and obese.

In Northern Ireland, 60 percent of the adult population are overweight with 25 percent classed as obese.

Obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases - type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

The Northern Obesity Partnership recently hosted an information sharing and planning workshop to identify current best practise in tackling and preventing obesity across the Northern Trust area.

The partnership is a multi-sector and multi-disciplinary group responsible for the local delivery of the regional strategy: Fitter Futures for All - Preventing and Addressing Overweight and Obesity in Northern Ireland 2012 -2022.

Within the Northern area, 23 percent of primary school children in Year 1 are overweight and obese.

While the numbers of obese children in Year 8 in the Northern area are almost double the Northern Ireland average at almost 14 percent. Sabrina Lynn, Northern Obesity Partnership Coordinator stated, “There is no single intervention or agency that can stop the rising prevalence of obesity.

“The society and communities we live in today encourage weight gain and obesity.

“Tackling the issue requires working together across many themes including for example increasing physical activity levels, reducing sedentary behaviour and lifestyles, promoting good nutrition, which includes increasing knowledge and skills about food and its preparation, and encouraging breastfeeding.

“It will take partnership working and commitment at all levels from individuals, families, communities, and across all sectors.”

The event brought together over 100 representatives from the health, local government, education and community sectors to look at ways to better work together and set the direction for local action over the coming year.

Michael Owen from the Public Health Agency stated, “The priorities, outcomes and learning from today’s event will be used by the Northern Obesity Partnership to help shape plans to tackle and prevent obesity across the Northern locality.”