Tackling a weighty problem in the Northern Trust area

Currently in Northern Ireland 60 percent of the adult population are overweight and obese, with 25 percent classed as obese. Obesity increases the risk of a range of chronic diseases; particularly type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

The Northern Obesity Partnership recently hosted an information sharing and planning workshop to identify current best practise in tackling and preventing obesity across the Northern Trust area.

The partnership is a multi-sector and multi-disciplinary group responsible for the local delivery of the regional strategy: Fitter Futures for All – Preventing and Addressing Overweight and Obesity in Northern Ireland 2012 -2022.

Within the Northern Area 23 percent of primary school children in Year 1 are overweight and obese. While the numbers of obese children in Year 8 in the Northern Area are almost double the Northern Ireland average at almost 14 percent

Sabrina Lynn, Northern Obesity Partnership Coordinator stated, “There is no single intervention or agency that can stop the rising prevalence of obesity. The society and communities we live in today encourage weight gain and obesity. Tackling the issue requires working together across many themes including, for example, increasing physical activity levels, reducing sedentary behaviour and lifestyles, promoting good nutrition, which includes increasing knowledge and skills about food and its preparation, and encouraging breastfeeding. It will take partnership working and commitment at all levels from individuals, families, communities, and across all sectors.”

The event brought together over 100 representatives from the health, local government, education and community sectors to look at ways to better work together and set the direction for local action over the coming year.

Michael Owen from the Public Health Agency stated, “The priorities, outcomes and learning from the event will be used by the Northern Obesity Partnership to help shape plans to tackle and prevent obesity across the Northern locality.”

For further information, advice and support visit the Choose to Live Better website.

Front row left to right
Sabrina Lynn (Northern Health and Social Care Trust), Pat Cussick (Northern Health and Social Care Trust), Bernie Candlish (Northern Physical Activity Partnership), Claire Duddy (Mid and East Antrim), Florence Hand (Northern Health and Social Care Trust) and Joan Irvine (Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council).

Back row
Oscar Donnelly (Northern Health and Social Care Trust), Hugh Nelson (Northern Health and Social Care Trust), Jane Turnbull (Education and Development) and Michael Owen (PHA).

The Health Survey Northern Ireland 2014-15 recorded that of the children aged 2-15 years,21% were assessed as being overweight and 7% as being obese based on the International Obesity Task Force guidelines

2014/15 results from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Public health Nursing, Weight Management Pathway for School Nursing, January 2016 found that in the Northern Area 17.8% of children were assessed as being overweight and 5.5% as obese in Year 1. In Year 8 10% of children were assessed as being overweight and 14% as being obese.

The 2014-15 Northern Ireland Health survey show that 60% of adults were either overweight (35%) or obese (25%). Over a third of adults (38%) were classed as being of a normal weight with the remaining 2% classed as underweight.

Download the NI Health survey 2014-15 for results. The report includes information on general health, mental health and wellbeing, diet and nutrition, physical activity, obesity, smoking, drinking and sexual health.

8th March 2016

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