Search

Childhood obesity to be targeted under new health drive in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 05:30 10 June 2019

There is a campaign in Suffolk to get more people active. Picture: PA

There is a campaign in Suffolk to get more people active. Picture: PA

(c) Digital Vision.

The results so far of an ambitious public health drive in Suffolk have been revealed, three years after the project began.

Alcohol-related admissions to hospital is one of the concerns in the county  Picture: Getty Images/istock photosAlcohol-related admissions to hospital is one of the concerns in the county Picture: Getty Images/istock photos

What is the Time is Now?

The Time is Now is a five-year strategy to decrease demand on the health and care sector in Suffolk.

The project is currently in its third year after plans were formally approved by the Health and Wellbeing Board on Suffolk County Council in March 2016.

What does the strategy aim to do?

Parkrun, and junior parkrun, is one of the things that has helped raise activity levels in Suffolk Picture: IPSWICH PARKRUNParkrun, and junior parkrun, is one of the things that has helped raise activity levels in Suffolk Picture: IPSWICH PARKRUN

Time is Now had three priorities;

- To improve early detection and treatment for hypertensions, atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and frailty.

- Improve support for those who wish to change their lifestyle

- Create personal and community capacity and enhance personal and community resilience.

Tony Goldson said the council was confident it would achieve its remaining goal Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNTony Goldson said the council was confident it would achieve its remaining goal Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

What has gone well?

Suffolk County Council believes that of the thirteen objectives it set out nearly all had seen some kind of improvement.

Objectives for atrial fibrillation, hypertension, NHS health checks, tobacco control, social isolation and loneliness, carers support and connecting neighbours have all seen some type of improvement according to the council.

What hasn't gone well?

Families across Suffolk ditched the school run for Move Suffolk Week Picture: SIMON LEE PHOTOGRAPHYFamilies across Suffolk ditched the school run for Move Suffolk Week Picture: SIMON LEE PHOTOGRAPHY

The two areas for concern for Suffolk County Council are the objectives relating to alcohol and healthy weight, particularly in young people.

The report notes that the percentage of children with a healthy weight in Suffolk has not seen the fall expected, instead plateauing.

The cases of severe obesity in Suffolk have increased slightly with 163 severely obese children in reception classes and 221 in year 6 during the 2017/8 school year.

Linked to this the report notes that more people are active than in 2016 but there is a great deal of variation in the levels of inactivity across Suffolk with the greatest amount of inactive adults being in Waveney (25.2%) while the least inactive adults are in Babergh (14.4%).

John Clough, Director of Active Suffolk  Picture: Keith MindhamJohn Clough, Director of Active Suffolk Picture: Keith Mindham

Numbers of alcohol related admissions in the county have failed to decrease significantly in three years.

The report does note that this is not the case for all age groups the number of admissions for alcohol-specific conditions in those aged under 18 has dropped by over 10%.

The council's Health and Wellbeing Committee are set to discuss the progress made so far in a meeting on Monday night.

What has the council been doing to encourage physical activity?

You may also want to watch:

Suffolk County Council already have a number of schemes in place to help people keep active in the county.

The Health and Wellbeing Board guide the actions of the Most Active County partnership which hopes to make Suffolk the most active county in the country.

The partnership has helped to bring a number of large scale events to the county such as The Women's Tour cycling race and the Great East Swim.

This year Suffolk County Council also hosted Move Suffolk Week.

The week hoped to raise awareness of the opportunities to be active in Suffolk and motivate people to move more often.

A range of activities were held across the county which encouraged people to move in whatever way they saw fit including tai chi classes, boccia, and dance classes.

Over 12,000 pupils also took part in the Walk to School week which was held as part of the Move Suffolk event.

What has been said about the results?

Councillor Tony Goldson, chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "We are now past the halfway point in the five year strategy and excellent progress has been made, but we are aware of where further work is needed.

"Eleven of the strategy's thirteen objectives have shown improved outcomes in the last three years. It is due to partners working together which is creating these successes and most importantly, creating legacies to change the way we all approach our health and wellbeing.

"In particular, we have seen nearly 130,000 NHS Health Checks carried out so far, which can help to prevent further illness and improve lifestyles. So much work has gone into reducing loneliness and isolation with the creation of Dementia Alliances across the county, and local authorities and businesses have become dementia-friendly.

"We are aware that work needs to continue in tackling alcohol and healthy weight issues, but with the great work that has succeeded in so many other areas, I am confident that this will come.

"The strategy continues to work on improving early detection, supporting those who wish to change their lifestyle and building capacity in communities to support everyone's health and wellbeing."

John Clough, Director at Active Suffolk said: "A large amount of evidence points to the beneficial impact of sport and physical activity in terms of prevention of ill health, therapeutic and management effects, improvements in strength, balance, movement and motor skills, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

"Despite this, physical activity levels in Suffolk have remained stubbornly static for a number of years. In Suffolk only 61% of adults are physically active for the 150 minutes each week recommended by the UK's Chief Medical Officer (CMO). 26% of adults, around 164,000 people across the county, are classed as inactive - not achieving 30 minutes of physical activity each week.

"Proportionally the figures are lower still for children, with a third of children and young people in Suffolk classed as less active - achieving less than the recommended average of 30 minutes physical activity per day.

"There is clearly much more to be done. Active Suffolk supports Suffolk's collective ambition to be the Most Active County in England and works with a wide range of partners to inspire more people to be active and adopt a healthy lifestyle."

What happens next?

The council's Health and Wellbeing Committee are set to discuss the progress made so far in a meeting on Monday night.

During the meeting councillors are expected to increase the support needed to tackle childhood obesity, inactivity, alcohol reduction and a project called Making Every Contact Count which aims to reduce interactions between professionals and individuals.

As well as this the report notes a number of other concerns that SCC want to include moving forward including the inclusion of cancer prevention.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists