Obesity consultation moves to listening events

Author: Adrian O'Dowd

The Welsh government is holding public events next week as part its ongoing obesity consultation in Wales in preparation for a strategy due to be launched in the autumn.


The Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales online consultation with a series of engagement events across the country has been launched to address the public health challenge of obesity. In Wales 60% of the adult population and 27% of four and five-year-olds are overweight.


The Welsh government has launched a plan to help people in Wales maintain a healthy weight and wants to hear views on the actions proposed including having education, work and leisure facilities promote and provide opportunities for people to access healthy meals, snacks and drinks and be physically active.


Under the proposals, environments would be created to help people make healthier food choices by legislating on price promotions, calorie labelling on foods eaten out of the home, banning the sale of energy drinks to children and bringing together various programmes to develop active environments across communities.


The government also wants to strengthen opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills of staff working across a range of roles – including those in primary care – and ensuring relevant front line staff have undertaken core Making Every Contact Count training on healthy weight and have the skills to hold conversations with people about their weight.


A number of public events will take place in Mid Wales this month including a public launch on 11 February in Llandrindod Wells where people will have an opportunity to hear more about the proposals as well as share their own ideas on how to best tackle obesity in Wales. 


Information and representatives will also be present in various locations to capture people’s views.


Being overweight increases the risk of developing major health conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, while also being a risk to people’s mental health due to low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.


Welsh health minister, Vaughan Gething, said: “This is an issue we simply cannot ignore, it is the greatest public health challenge facing our generation and I urge people to engage fully with this consultation.


“Tackling the root causes of why people become overweight is complex; it will require intervention at every level. We are under no illusion - there is no quick fix or easy solution to this problem. The proposals outlined are based on the best evidence available of what could work to turn the tide on obesity.”


Feedback from the public gathered during the consultation will be used to help inform the final strategy, due to be published in October.


The consultation runs until 12 April.