Healthy Weight
 
Contents
 
 
 
Key Facts for Children Achieving a Healthy Weight
 
 
 

 

 
Key Facts for achieving a Healthy Weight 
Obesity has become one of the major public health challenges for the 21st century. The cause of obesity is complex having behavioural, genetic, environmental and social components. This makes it a key health inequality issue. The health risks associated with being overweight or obese are many, including increasing risk of diabetes, cancer, heart and liver disease, and these risks increase the more weight people put on
 

Since there is no definitive measure of the proportion of obese adults, national modelled estimates of adult obesity rates were developed from population survey data
 
In Merton these estimates suggest that 19.1% of adults (aged over 16 years) in Merton are obese. Further estimates within the boroughs (at middle super output area level) suggest the highest levels are in the more deprived areas, with prevalence ranging from 10.6% to 28.4%.
 
In Sutton these estimates suggest that 23% of adults (aged over 16 years) are obese. Further estimates within the boroughs (at middle super output area level) suggest that the highest levels are in the more deprived areas, with prevalence ranging from 16.5% to 29.5%
 
Key Facts for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

Simplistically, achieving a healthy weight has two components: energy in and energy out; in essence eating healthily and being physically active to burn off the calories consumed. As a proxy for healthy eating, an estimated proportion of people eating healthily has been modelled based on national survey data.

 

It is recommended that, to achieve health benefits, adults should participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on at least five days per week. Currently only around 10% of Sutton and Merton residents achieve this level and almost half of residents have taken part in no physical activity in the past four weeks whatsoever.

 

Data from across the country, reflected in the London wide data, shows that disabled groups, non white groups and older groups are less likely to be active.

 

Activity levels are also lower in routine occupations and those residents that have never worked or are long term unemployed, than those residents in higher and managerial professions.

 

In Merton, 10.1% of residents take part in enough physical activity to benefit their health (30 mins on at least 5 days per week). This compares with 10% of Londoners and 11.3% nationally. 44.3% of Merton residents reported that they had taken part in no physical activity at all in the past 4 weeks, with 49.4% of women and 39% of men reporting no activity at all. Residents in routine occupations and those residents that have never worked or are long term unemployed are more likely to be inactive (58.6%), than those residents in higher and managerial professions (33.9%). The actual activity levels of Merton residents (as opposed to the proportion achieving 5x30 per week) is also below expected levels of participation, although the gap is closing. However, 58% of children take part in 3 hours of physical activity or sport per week which is higher than the regional and national averages. In general people in Merton eat more healthily compared to London or the rest of England. However, this masks variation across the Borough with the more deprived areas eating less healthily.

 

 

In Sutton, 9.8% of Sutton residents take part in enough physical activity to benefit their health (30 mins on at least 5 days per week). This compares with 10% of Londoners and 11.3% nationally. 47.3% of Sutton residents reported that they had taken part in no physical activity at all in the past 4 weeks, with 51.8% of women and 42.8% of men reporting no activity at all. Residents in routine occupations and those residents that have never worked or are long term unemployed are more likely to be inactive (56.6%), than those residents in higher and managerial professions (42%). The actual activity levels of Sutton residents (as opposed to the proportion achieving 5x30 per week) is also below expected levels of participation, although the gap is closing. In addition, only 54% of children take part in 3 hours of physical activity or sport per week which is lower than both the regional and national averages. In general people in Sutton eat more healthily than the rest of England but not as healthily as people in London. However, this masks variation across the Borough with the more deprived areas eating less healthily.

 

Groups that have been identified as having the lowest levels of physical activity are girls and women (particularly young adults), people with physical and mental health disabilities, older adults, ethnic minority groups and socially deprived communities.  

 

Chart Achieving a healthy weight
 
Map Achieving a healthy weight by area
 
Chart Adult participation in sport
 
 
Key Facts for Children Achieving a Healthy Weight

Childhood obesity has been increasing over the last two to three decades  worldwide but there was very little robust data to identify what the increase was on a local basis. In 2006 the National Child Measurement programme was introduced to measure the height and weight of all 5 and 11 year old children year on year

 

While it is too early to look at trends it is clear that the levels of children who are overweight or obese are significant. Information locally confirms there is a link to deprivation, so that children of poorer households have a greater risk of being overweight or obese and are therefore at greater risk of certain diseases. However, this association appears to be stronger in Merton than Sutton.

 

Higher levels of breastfeeding are linked to better child health. Supported by Commissioners, Sutton and Merton Community services have signed up to UNICEF Baby Friendly accreditation which aims to improve breastfeeding rates.

 

In Merton the latest figures (Q4 2010/11) suggest the prevalence of breastfeeding is about 69% which is in line with the London average.  

 

In Sutton the latest figures (Q4 2010/11) the prevalence of breastfeeding is about 48% which is lower than the regional average. The lowest prevalence is in the northern wards. 

 

For both Sutton and Merton Borough Councils, tackling obesity in childhood is a priority action and they are working in partnership with the PCT to ensure that appropriate programmes of activities including preventative and intervention services are in place focusing on children and families

 

Chart Young People achieving a healthy weight
 
 
Key Commissioning Implications for supporting People achieve a Healthy Weight 

Tackling obesity and helping people achieve a healthy weight is a key activity to prevent future illness. With increasing numbers of people projected to live longer locally, helping to prevent future ill-health such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease is vitally important if health and social care services are going to be able to cope in the future. There is no simple solution to the challenge of obesity. It is important that an integrated and wide-ranging programme of solutions involving national and local action should be adopted to help tackle the growing problem

 

The Public Health White paper Choosing Health, the Children’s NSF and the National Strategy on Obesity Healthy Weight Healthy Lives (2008) spell out the key challenges for local Government and the NHS; to build effective partnerships, to invest to ensure future health, to take effective action to reduce inequalities at a local level and to establish health as a way of life for individuals and communities

 

Promoting healthier food choices, ensuring access to affordable healthy food and building physical activity into everyday lives are key elements which can be addressed through local policy in both health services and in Local Authority areas; such as through the Local Development Frameworks and commissioned services such as Leisure Services and care home contracts

 

A community consultation in a small area in Sutton tried to identify the attitudes, beliefs and barriers towards achieving a healthy weight. The findings of this consultation suggest that while being healthy is important to people, the use of language (not being judgemental or being made to feel they are failures), the way that messages are communicated (where, when, and being consistent) and their real understanding of how to put the messages into action (lacking skills and confidence) are the key issues in achieving a healthy weight. Therefore commissioners need to ensure Positive messages, fun activities (not overtly health orientated), locally available with local champions were important in supporting healthy choices. These findings were validated as part of a wider consultation across Sutton and Merton and have implications for how programmes of interventions should be commissioned

 

Ensuring robust Health Impact Assessments is vital to improving access to services supporting increased physical activity among the more vulnerable groups who are more likely to suffer inequalities in health

 
Circulatory Disease
Diabetes
Cancer
Life Expectancy
Related Topics
Wider Determinants of Health
Where are our Inequalities