New campaign seeks to change perceptions of weight and weight loss

OneLife Suffolk have launched a new initiative to smash myths around weight and to support families

OneLife Suffolk have launched a new initiative to smash myths around weight and to support families to get healthy - Credit: Getty Images

A new campaign has been launched in Suffolk to challenge the status quo around weight issues and help to support families to enjoy a healthy weight.

An estimated 43% of adults in Suffolk have a weight above the healthy range, while as many as 32% of children under 12 fall into the same category.

OneLife Suffolk, the county’s healthy lifestyle service provider, is running a campaign to raise the profile of the support on offer for those who want to lose weight while urging society to reassess its perception of people who are overweight or obese.

Ali Clements, of OneLife Suffolk, said “It is important to give parents, carers and health professionals the tools that enable them to be clear and confident about what it means to have a healthy weight and to be clear where to go if they need support or want to discuss this further.

“At OneLife Suffolk, we have extensive experience of supporting adults and children across the county to lead a healthy lifestyle and to lose weight. This service is free for Suffolk residents and the team are happy to chat through the various options of support available.”

The service has created a range of interactive material to run alongside the campaign, including Body Mass Index (BMI) charts and top tips for families to understand how to stay healthy.

OneLife Suffolk is also working with schools, workplaces and the media to try and dispel myths and discrimination associated with obesity.

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Dr Stuart Flint, a senior research fellow in public health and obesity at Leeds Beckett University who is leading the work, said: “People come in all shapes and sizes for a range of reasons such as genetics, medical conditions, environmental influences and lifestyle choices. Some of these are within our control, whilst many are not.

“What’s alarming is that people can experience stigma and discrimination based on their weight across a range of settings including healthcare, schools, workplaces and exercise settings, which has repercussions on body image, low self-esteem, social exclusion and worse.

“We’re calling for a more honest and realistic assessment of people’s weight, and a more informed understanding of what a healthy weight means.”

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