Obesity in England has increased from around 7% of the adult population in 1980 to the current figure of just under a quarter of adults (24.2%). In children in England obesity currently affects just under 10% of those aged 4-5 years old and just under 19% of those aged 10-11 years old. Obese children are more likely to suffer bullying as a result of their weight and are more at risk of type 2 diabetes and other diseases in the future than children who are a healthy weight. Adult obesity is linked to a wide range of medical conditions including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, breathing problems, liver disease, arthritis, depression and cancer.
What do we know?
Although obesity prevalence in both adults and children in Shropshire is similar to the national figures, this still amounts to a very large number of affected people. As a consequence, obesity in Shropshire accounts for a large and growing burden of disease. Obesity is not spread equally throughout the population and inequalities exist, for example people in older age groups and those living in the most deprived areas of Shropshire are more likely to be obese than the average. As there is an ageing population in Shropshire, obesity is likely to increase in line with this. With Shropshire being a relatively affluent county with fewer areas of disadvantage the fact that there are similar levels of obesity to the national average is a matter of concern.
What are we doing?
An integrated pathway for the management of adult obesity has been developed in Shropshire. It aims to provide referrals into treatment programmes at the earliest possible stage and provides interventions at four levels.
Tier 1 services aim to prevent obesity in patients with a BMI30 (BMI27 with co-morbidities) to enable them to achieve a clinically beneficial 5-10% weight loss. Currently there is no tier 3 (specialist obesity service) or tier 4 (obesity surgery) provision in Shropshire.
The NCMP is a national programme that measures the height and weight of children in reception year and year 6. The programme provides routine feedback to children’s parents and school nurses about their weight. The nurses can then take calls from parents to advise them on appropriate action. Recently there has been a pilot weight management programme for children in Shropshire. This was a family based intervention which targeted overweight and obese children in one of the most deprived areas of Shropshire.
Obesity has been highlighted during local GP engagement work as being a significant problem affecting the health of the population at present and in the future. Access to appropriate services for treatment of obesity was also highlighted as a problem.
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