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Why we all need to do our bit to tackle excess weight

Telford’s leading public health specialist has issued a stark warning cry to residents, business and partner organisations.

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Telford’s leading public health specialist has issued a stark warning cry to residents, business and partner organisations – we all need to do our bit to tackle excess weight

by Liz Noakes, Statutory Director of Public Health

Every year I produce a report that looks at health issues within Telford and Wrekin, and this year’s focuses on the issue of excess weight.

This will be the fifth Public Health Annual Report that I have produced. Putting it together has shown to me that the scale of the problem is huge, and there is no one cause nor one solution to the issue of excess weight.

Please do take the time to read it. I aimed to write a report that has something in there for everyone no matter who you are.

The report also asks people to get in touch for their ideas and support to our combined efforts. So I am looking forward to hearing from people who have read it.

For now though, here is a short overview of the report and why I think we all need to do our bit to tackle excess weight.

The excess weight problem in Telford and Wrekin

So here is what we know:

  • 1 in 4 children aged four or five are overweight or obese
  • 1 in 3 children aged 10 or 11 are overweight or obese
  • 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese
  • 3 in 10 adults are physically inactive

graphic showing the levels of obesity in Telford and Wrekin

So why is this happening? Well, in general we are consuming far more calories than we need – what we sometimes call ‘calorie creep.’ Being overweight is now the norm with people not fully aware of all the risks of the fact that they might be overweight.

Technological changes have meant that we are less active. We can shop, stay in touch, and be entertained from our sofa – workplaces are increasingly more sedentary as well.

These are problems that the whole country is facing and it’s not unique to our borough.

We all need to do our bit

The scale of the problem is so huge that our response to this has to be as co-ordinated as possible.

This means that actions need to be taken at all levels – nationally by government, locally with the Council working with employers, the NHS and partner organisations, and by people living in their families and communities.

The Council cannot tackle this issue alone – everyone needs to do their bit.

Graphic that shows how much obesity costs society and the NHS

Last year’s Public Health Annual Report showcased how we were encouraging our communities to be more resilient. Our communities are becoming a hive of activity, many people run volunteers groups that promote healthy eating and exercise.

To reduce excess weight we need to build upon our work that supports communities. As part of this we will be working closely with community groups and volunteers to produce plans to tackle the issue of excess weight.

Business is another important group we need to work with. Where we work has a significant effect on how we live our lives, so we must work closer with business to create healthier working environments.

But we all need to consider what we can do to take care of own weight. There are lots of small changes we can make in our lifestyles that will make a difference.

What you can do

Although technology has made us more sedentary, but it has also provided us with many new ways to keep fit. The apps from One You are all very useful for people who want to lose weight or exercise more. These include Active 10, Couch to 5k and Easy Meals apps.

We are lucky to have many green spaces in Telford and Wrekin, our award winning town park, the outdoor gyms, excellent leisure centres, and a 50 mile walking trail that connects footpaths and rights of way across the borough green trials and footpaths.

I know that being outdoors not only can help to reduce excess weight, but is also good for your happiness and wellbeing too. I would encourage people to make use of them.

If you just don’t know where to start or need a little encouragement to make a change in your lifestyle, then get in contact with our Healthy Lifestyles team. They provide free encouragement and support that’s tailored around a person and their needs.

People can contact the team contact the team on the telephone – 01952 382582 or email – healthylifestyles@telford.gov.uk.

Making a change in your lifestyle is never easy. Many people’s lives are so busy that they just don’t have the time to think about their own health. But it can be done.

One of our case studies that features in the report is from local resident Les Pointer. He lost 7 stone in 21 weeks when he took up walking football, decided to watch what he ate, and with support from a Healthy Lifestyle Advisor.

You can see how he did it in Les’s own words from one of our blogs that we featured earlier in the year.

Read the Public Health Annual Report

Our illustrative and interactive report is available online. But you can always download it as a PDF and print it off if you prefer.

If you have any thoughts about the report or have any ideas about how business, the council and our partners, communities and people, can help tackle the excess weight issue, then let us know in the comments below.

Read the Public Health Annual Report

6 comments

  1. I find it really hard to fathom why the Council makes it as hard as possible to get to Oakengates Leisure Centre without a car! A couple of years ago they sat back and without a murmur allowed Arriva to change the bus route so that buses no longer stopped nearby at the White Horse, which was bad enough. I really struggled to get there this week for a walking netball session by bus due to the diversions that are taking place around Wrockwardine Wood. I understand the work has to take place and the buses diverted but why or why is there no information about the diversions at Telford Bus Station, Oakengates or anywhere else on route? I rang T&W Council and was told “Not our problem, ask Arriva”. I spoke to the nice bloke in the Arriva office at the Telford Centre Bus Station who agreed it was shocking there was no info at the bus stations and no replacement bus stops for the duration of the works. I also contacted Arriva via their facebook page but have had only a “thanks for contacting us, we’ll get back to you sometime” response.

    I ended up walking most of the way to the Leisure Centre and back to Oakengates, which okay might be extra exercise but what if I wasn’t fit enough to do that AND a walking netball session? T&W Council should be doing much more to help people access leisure facilities, especially those without a car. They may say that they care about getting people more active, but they obviously don’t care THAT much!

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments D A Jackson.

      First of all, I hope you are enjoying your walking netball sessions, even if they are proving hard to get to!

      We agree with you that where we live and what we have around us has a big impact on the healthy decisions we make. It goes without saying that the harder it is to get to a leisure centre the less likely you are to go.
      It is disappointing to hear about your experience. We award the contract to Arriva to provide a bus service, in that sense it is Arriva’s responsibility to provide the bus service – not us.

      Arriva are regularly supplied with information regarding upcoming roadworks. They put up notices in drivers areas advising of when and where buses will be diverted. The information in question is also sent to the people in the bus station in order that they can answer any questions on them.

      We do not have a way that we can put a notice of diversion in the bus station. But any bus stops that were affected had notices placed on them advising of the route changes. Including in one case revised notices when the contractors failed to start the works on the original date.

      We have a webpage which shows current and upcoming bus service disruptions for whatever reason. You can also sign up to receive email bulletins about bus route diversions.

      We review our arrangements with Arriva periodically. I understand you are frustrated by your experience but we would suggest that you pursue Arriva about this.

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  2. Thank you for your response. I am still awaiting a response from my query of two weeks ago to Arriva. As far as putting notices on “any bus stops that were affected”, that’s okay if you are planning to travel FROM that stop, but not much use if you are trying to get there from somewhere else, hence the need for some sort of notification in the main bus stations eg at Teflord Town Centre and Oakengates. Would you also be kind enough to provide a link to the council web page showing the BUS diversions, as the only one I have been able to locate on the T&W Council site shows diversions for traffic in general, but not where the replacement bus stops are.

    Yes, I did enjoy the walking netball last week, but as you point out, the more difficult it is to get to a facility, the less likely people are to use that facility and I am no different to anyone else in that respect. At the moment I am weighing up the options of risking the bus, walking the whole way, taking a taxi, or giving the whole thing a miss until there is better public transport to Oakengates Leisure Centre.

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