A three year plan being developed by Blackburn with Darwen Council, with the vision for everyone in Blackburn with Darwen to move more, eat well and maintain a healthy weight, has been presented to a group of local GPs and practice nurses.
The Eat Well Shape Up Move More Strategy 2016-19 aims to encourage positive lifestyle changes that enable the people of Blackburn with Darwen to improve their health and wellbeing, by supporting an environment that allows physical activity and healthy eating to be the easy choice for everyone throughout the course of their lives.
According to Chief Medical Officer guidelines, out of a population of 147,000 almost 36% of Blackburn with Darwen residents are not active enough to benefit their health, whilst 67% are classed as either overweight or obese. The healthy life expectancy of both males and females is way beneath the national average.
Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Obesity is a problem not only in Blackburn with Darwen but nationally, particularly in young people. One of our strategic priorities is to prevent people from dying prematurely , therefore it’s very important we tackle obesity because, as well as causing obvious physical changes, it can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In addition, obesity can also affect a person’s quality of life and lead to psychological problems, such as depression and low self-esteem.
“We are doing well at tackling the problem which is particularly important in Blackburn with Darwen given that we have the highest number of young people in Europe. It helps though that we have good partnership working with other organisations such as Public Health and that historic strategic plans have paved the way.”
Councillor Mustafa Desai, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, added: “Tackling weight issues amongst our population is a key priority. One of our biggest challenges is to try to control the known social risks that generate obesity in the first place. This strategy is therefore a very important one for the future health of all of our residents. With the Council continuing to face unprecedented cuts to its budget, prevention and early intervention strategies such as this are even more vital to ensure we can provide cost-effective services to improve our residents’ health and wellbeing.”