The Health Minister, Vaughan Gething has today outlined plans to make Wales’ one of the first countries to see obesity rates decline.

First published:
17 October 2019
Last updated:

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Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales is the Welsh Governments long term strategy to prevent and reduce obesity. The aim of the plan is to deliver healthy settings and environments to allow people of all ages to make healthy choices.

In Wales over 60% (1.5 million) of the adult population is overweight or obese, each year this figure rises by 10,000. If this trend continues the number of adults projected to become overweight or obese will increase to 64% of the nation’s population - another 160,000 adults by 2030.

Evidence shows having a healthy weight is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of long term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

Preventing obesity is a complex challenge, with many contributing factors at an individual, community, societal and global level.

Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales has a strong focus on prevention and will see initiatives from across government. The plan is broken into 4 themes:

The strategy sets out 4 themes.

Healthy Environments: aims to support people to be able to make healthy choices. This will focus on changing the way we shop, the way we eat out, the way we travel, or how we use outdoor spaces.

Healthy Settings: will develop supportive environments to promote healthier choices. This includes childcare settings, schools and higher and further education, workplaces and community settings.

Healthy People: providing advice, information and support. This includes providing people with the opportunity to regularly discuss their lifestyle choices with health and care professionals.

Leadership and Enabling Change: to drive improved leadership and accountability to deliver Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales across all sectors.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething, said:

Obesity is projected to overtake smoking as the nation’s biggest public health challenge. Too often people are confronted with unhealthy choices and bombarded with messages that promote unhealthy options. A culture that is occurring not just in Wales but across the Western world, we need to redress the balance. Small steps towards healthier habits can create big change, and this is the basis of the strategy.

Everybody needs to play a role, prevention cannot be achieved by Government, the NHS or any other individual sector alone. I will be establishing a National Implementation Board later this year to drive forward National priorities for 2020-22.

My ambition is for Wales to be one of the first countries in the world to witness declining rates of obesity. This will have a significant and long-lasting legacy for both our current and future generations.

Frank Atherton, Chief Medical officer for Wales, said:

As a nation we are becoming less active. Our busy lifestyles prioritise convenience over healthy food.

60% of the adult population is obese or overweight, we have to turn this figure around. If this trend continues future generations will have a shorter lifespan than generations before them. We know that changing daily lifestyle habits can be challenging but it can be done— we want to help people to break old habits and create healthy new ones.