This article was taken from: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-46883437
The “stark” problem with overweight children could also mean this generation will not live as long as their parents, according to Wales’ chief medical officer.
It comes as the nation’s first strategy to combat obesity is launched.
The health minister wants to create an environment where it was “normal and easy” to eat well and be active.
A consultation – Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales – sets out ambitions to reduce obesity over the next 10 years, while recognising that nowhere has quite managed to successfully stop it in its tracks.
It wants to end the stigma of talking about being overweight, make it a natural conversation to have with a GP, while making the ability to be active and make healthy food choices far easier, regardless of where you live or how much money you have.
There is a challenge for civic and political leaders, those in community roles – as well as all of us – to play a part, stated the consultation.
But the hope is that Wales is sufficiently small with enough law-making powers already behind it to make real strides over the next few years.
There is a mix of “stick and carrot” and ideas include:
Nick Davies, 37, a hospital worker from Pen-y-groes near Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire, took part in a Ffit Cymru programme on S4C, which brought in a daily exercise and eating plan.
Going back 18 months, I used to live a life of ‘eating, work; eating, sleeping’. I was in a rut not a routine. I was overweight, I wasn’t fit and on a slippery slope.
My blood pressure was through the roof and I had high cholesterol. If Ffit Cymru hadn’t come along, I might have been in trouble.
When I was younger, I played rugby twice or three times a week. I’ve never been one to go on a diet but I got away with it because I was doing so much training.
My little boy came along, my rugby stopped but I carried on eating as I was and before long it became the norm.
When I look back to what I was eating – I’d have a cooked breakfast, then I’d be thinking about lunch – leftover curry or a sandwich – and then fish and chips when I got home. I was in denial and looked in the mirror and thought I looked good.
My clothes were getting tighter and I’d blame my wife for the washing.
I was given a fitness age of over 80 – and I’m in my 30s – that was shocking.
My realisation was I wanted to see my children grow up. I’ve knocked 40 years off my fitness level. By the end of the eight weeks I was running 5km and a few weeks after finishing the programme I did the Cardiff half marathon – in six months.
My advice to anyone, is there’s no good time, just get out there.
Dr Frank Atherton, chief medical officer for Wales, said: “If we think about preventable disease, only smoking exceeds obesity and being overweight at the moment but it’s catching up. We need to think about the next generation and there’s a real risk that if we don’t get serious, they will live shorter lives than their parents.”
Dr Julie Bishop, director of health improvement at Public Health Wales, said obesity was more difficult to tackle than smoking “because everyone needs to eat”.
She said it had to become commonplace that pupils walked to school, that sitting down all day was not a good thing, while school lunches were not rushed and the healthiest options were the first ones that children saw in the canteen.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said fitting healthier eating and exercise into busy lives could appear to be an overwhelming challenge but they wanted to support making the healthy choice “the easy choice”.
“Creating an environment where it is normal and easy for us all to eat well and be physically active can make a significant difference and nudge us to change our daily routines,” he said
“This starts in the places where we shop, socialise, commute and in schools and workplaces”.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said there was “no quick fix” but getting it right in childhood was an excellent place to start.
Vice president of the Royal College of Physicians in Wales, Dr Gareth Llewelyn, welcomed the focus on children but he was disappointed there had been “very little or no progress” in most parts of Wales in improving specialist medical services for people who were already obese.