Ambitious new plan to halt obesity rise in Wales

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething has outlined plans to make Wales’ one of the first countries to see obesity rates decline.

The Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy hopes to help deliver healthy settings and environments to allow people of all ages to make healthy choices.

Currently, over 60 per cent (1.5 million) of the adult population in Wales is overweight or obese, with that figure rising by 10,000 each year. If this trend continues, the number of adults projected to become overweight or obese will increase to 64 per cent of the nation’s population - another 160,000 adults by 2030.

Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales has a strong focus on prevention and will see initiatives from across government. The plan is broken into four themes: Healthy Environments; Healthy Settings; Healthy People; and Leadership and Enabling Change.

The main efforts from there themes include developing supportive environments to promote healthier choices and focusing on changing the way people shop, the way people eat out, the way people travel, or how people use outdoor spaces.

Gething said: “Obesity is projected to overtake smoking as the nation’s biggest public health challenge. Too often people are confronted with unhealthy choices and bombarded with messages that promote unhealthy options. A culture that is occurring not just in Wales but across the Western world, we need to redress the balance.Small steps towards healthier habits can create big change, and this is the basis of the strategy.

“Everybody needs to play a role, prevention cannot be achieved by government, the NHS or any other individual sector alone. I will be establishing a National Implementation Board later this year to drive forward national priorities for 2020-22. My ambition is for Wales to be one of the first countries in the world to witness declining rates of obesity. This will have a significant and long-lasting legacy for both our current and future generations.”