Overweight adults and children in South Warwickshire are being urged to take action as part of Obesity Awareness Week, which runs until Sunday.
The message, from the NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is designed to encourage people to make small lifestyle changes such as becoming more physically active, following a balanced diet or cutting down on sugary snacks.
Suggestions such as taking stairs instead of lifts, walking or cycling instead of using a car for short trips or doing some physical work in the garden can all make a difference.
Dr David Spraggett, Chair at NHS Warwickshire CCG, said: “Latest statistics show that in Warwickshire 62% of adults and 18.9% of children in Year 6 are classified as overweight or obese. That’s a high number of people living in our area who are at risk of serious health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, a range of cancers and poor mental health.
“The risk is higher the more weight a person gains and the longer they are overweight for, but the good news is small changes that are kept up over time can make a real difference.
“If you need further help and support GP practices can also signpost patients to other useful services. These include local weight loss groups and exercise on prescription, where the patient is referred to a local active health team for a number of sessions under the supervision of a qualified trainer.”
Obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in the UK and more than 1 in 20 cancer cases are caused by excess weight. Evidence from Cancer Research UK shows that bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancers are more likely to be caused by being overweight than by smoking tobacco.
Dr Spraggett added: “Children who are overweight could face serious problems in later life. So, making sure that children are active and eating healthily is vitally important. Children’s portion sizes should match their age. Feeding children more will not make them grow any faster but will lead to extra fat being stored in their bodies.
“All children should be physically active for at least one hour a day. Parents can help by encouraging their child to find activities they enjoy and by building physical activity into family life.”
People can make a pledge during Obesity Awareness Week to change just one small habit that will help to fight obesity. Visit www.noaw.org.uk for more information.
For more information on obesity visit http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Obesity/Pages/Introduction.aspx