According to NICE, the cost of obesity (including that to the NHS) in 2007 was £16 billion, and this figure was set to rise to a staggering £50 billion a year by 2050 if the situation is not improved.
The latest available figures (2011) demonstrate that, in England, 24% of men and 26% of women were obese, with 41% of men and 33% of women being overweight. There have been National initiatives aimed at improving this, for example improvements in food labelling and campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the issues.
Local initiatives are essential to back up national campaigns, for example promoting local activity through encouraging cycling and walking, particularly in new developments, promoting and providing affordable leisure facilities, and supporting local initiatives which impact on healthy eating and reducing alcohol consumption.
Current activities in the Borough
In terms of referrals available for Wokingham residents, a short term course which offers both comprehensive healthy eating advice and introductory exercise. Eat 4 health is a free weight management programme for adults over 16 years for people with a BMI greater than 25. Additionally local Health Walks are available, these are free to join, and offer a sociable and inclusive walk which is led by trained volunteers. The routes are varied, and introduce local people to a range of local walks of which they may not have been aware. In conjunction with Sports and Leisure, other targeted services to encourage physical activity are available, through either self-referral or referral through the GP pathway. These include Shine, and Steady Steps for the over 50s age group. Click here for more information about SHINE, Steady Steps and other leisure activities available in the Borough.