Keep the pounds off and avoid ill-health

NHS LOTHIAN will discuss new plans to encourage healthier lifestyles through better diets and physical activity in Lothian at its board meeting tomorrow (Wed).

The board of NHS Lothian is to be asked to approve a new Healthy Weight “strategic framework” for NHS staff in Lothian to promote healthy lifestyles.

Dr Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian, said:

“The Healthy Weight Strategy is about improving the quality of life for people in Lothian and helping people lead long and healthy lives. By promoting healthy eating and regular physical activity, NHS Lothian can help people avoid some of the debilitating and occasionally fatal conditions associated with being severely overweight.
 
“The solutions to helping people maintain healthy weight are not just down to the NHS – while we will do our bit for people who already have problems associated with obesity, it’s important that people realise we need to change things at a society-wide and cultural level.
 
“Society need to realise that living in a built environment where people are forced to use cars, rather than walking or cycling, to get around, is part of this problem and that transport is one of the many factors making it harder for some people to maintain a healthy weight.”
 
The framework sets out a five point plan for helping people in Lothian remain healthy.
 
These are:

  • To increase the awareness of recommended levels of physical activity and understanding of food and diet to maintain healthy weight
  • To work with local and national government to tackle problems such as urban design promoting car use and dissuading people from walking or cycling
  • To develop and implement specific initiatives to increase physical activity and promote healthy eating in vulnerable communities
  • To support effective national programmes that aim to increase physical activity and promote healthy eating
  • To provide appropriate evidence-based interventions for people who are overweight and obese.

The cost of treating obesity-linked illnesses in NHS Scotland in 2001 was £171m, the paper being presented to the board estimates. Over £22m a year could be redirected to the treatment of other conditions if the public acts on healthy eating messages, the paper suggests.

The full paper can be downloaded from NHS Lothian’s website at www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk.

27/05/2008