Action call to tackle obesity

A NEW action plan to halt rising obesity levels in Bristol could take a “system-wide approach” and oppose companies “selling really s*** food”. Public health experts believe systemic changes are needed in the wider Bristol region to help people reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Changes could be coming to school dinners and meals served in hospitals, after concerns about the quality and healthiness of this food. One council boss said companies were “perpetuating really poor diets”, and called for similar measures to anti-smoking policies.

Action will be coordinated across councils and NHS organisations that form the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care System. The plan was discussed during a meeting of the health and wellbeing board on May 23 at Bristol City Council.

Emily Moseley, a public health registrar, said: “One in five children are living with overweight or obesity when they start school, and this increases to one in three by the time they leave school. This has a big impact on the NHS, as obesity is linked to a range of non-communicable diseases.

“It’s possible that obesity could overtake tobacco and smoking as the biggest cause of preventable death. This impact isn’t felt equally across society, with lower income households facing multiple challenges in managing finances, making it harder to access nutritious food and opportunities to be physically active.”

She added there was a clear link between poverty and obesity. According to the council’s quality of life survey, the area with the highest level of people who are overweight and obese is Stockwood, followed by Brislington East, Henbury and Brentry.

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service