Health and Wellbeing Board endorses new Healthier Weight Strategy for Shropshire
Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board have today (Thursday 16 November 2023) endorsed a new strategy that will promote health through supporting people to achieve a healthier weight.
The Healthier Weight Strategy for Shropshire 2023-2028 report was presented to the Board, and describes how the council and its partners will work together to help address the issue of excess weight.
Current data shows that 67% of adults (more than 180,000 people) in Shropshire are overweight or obese, and nearly one in three children aged 10 to 11 are overweight or very overweight.
The revised strategy has been updated following a consultation process where the public and staff in partner organisations were asked for their views and suggestions on the draft strategy.
The strategy will focus on five key priorities:
- Improve the health of Shropshire’s population by reducing the scale of excess weight and reducing inequalities in excess weight.
- Improve the environment in which Shropshire residents live so they enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
- Increase actions aimed at preventing excess weight across the life course – focusing on infants, early years, children, and families.
- Increase awareness of and uptake of universal support, available services, and resources – targeting the most vulnerable, including those with learning disabilities, special educational needs, and disabilities, and those living with severe mental illness.
- Enable Shropshire’s community, voluntary and public sector workforce to confidently and capably support Shropshire residents living with excess weight in a way which reduces stigma and discrimination.
A series of actions have been identified to help achieve the priorities, which include working with:
- Maternity and early years colleagues to deliver earlier interventions to help prevent obesity.
- Council colleagues to prioritise healthier environments through the council’s planning process – enabling walkable neighbourhoods and access to healthier food options.
- NHS, social care and colleagues in the voluntary and community sector to ensure those with disabilities and special educational needs, have access to and benefit from the available information and support.
Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health, and communities, and co-chair of Shropshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said:-
“Our aim is to create a healthier environment and to empower Shropshire residents with the knowledge, information and support needed to enable a healthier lifestyle so they can enjoy improved physical and mental wellbeing.
“The Healthier Weight Strategy sets out our system-wide priorities to improve health and promote healthier weight among the Shropshire population. Through working with partner organisations we aim to prevent excess weight, and I am confident that the actions identified in the strategy will help us address many of the issues identified and bring real benefit to our residents. I welcome the decision by Board members to endorse the strategy and support their respective organisations to work together with us to deliver the strategy over the coming five years.”
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, added:-
“One of our key ambitions in public health is to ensure Shropshire residents have the opportunity to adopt healthier lifestyles and enjoy better health. Evidence indicates that reducing excess weight among the population would lead to a significant reduction in weight-related illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
“We recognise that our strategy coincides with a time of unprecedented financial hardship for many, and that this has worsened problems such as food and fuel poverty making healthy living more difficult for those affected. However, we firmly believe our strategy sets out the right direction to tackle excess weight and address our challenges. In doing so, we can support our communities to live longer healthier lives.”
Dr Charlotte Hart, GP at Radbrook Green Surgery in Shrewsbury, added:-
“The Healthier Weight Strategy is a genuine opportunity for different groups to work together. By working with our council, education, voluntary sector and other health colleagues, I really think that we can make a difference to the health and wellbeing of our population.”
The 2023–2028 Healthier Weight Strategy and report can be found at Agenda for Health and Wellbeing Board on Thursday, 16 November, 2023, 9.30 am — Shropshire Council
The rise in excess weight is a consequence of dramatic changes in the way society now eats, lives, and works. Shops are filled with unhealthy, highly processed food options, and many people are not moving enough. Also, for an increasing number of people, a healthy lifestyle is not the easiest or most affordable option. Enabling our residents to eat healthily and be physically active can only be achieved through changing the environment from one which drives the development of excess weight to one which promotes health.