Hartlepool health chiefs vow to tackle obesity problem

Hartlepool has a high level of overweight and obese children and adults.
Hartlepool has a high level of overweight and obese children and adults.

Health chiefs have vowed to tackle the growing problem with obesity which has seen Hartlepool youngsters busting the national average for their waistlines.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board has approved a new 10-year Healthy Weight Strategy to deal with the ongoing problem of obesity.

It comes as statistics from the National Childhood Measurement Programme show the town has a rising level of obesity among young people.

Figures showed 25.6% of children aged between four and five and 38.7% of children aged 10 and 11 are overweight or obese.

Nationally 22.5% of four and five year olds and 33.5% of 10 and 11 year olds are overweight or obese.

The report also showed a total of 68.5% of adults in Hartlepool were overweight or obese compared to 63.8% nationally.

Councillors heard recommendations to carry out the plan from health practitioner for obesity Steven Carter.

“We are looking at what impacts on people to maintain a healthy weight and there are a wide variety of different factors,” he said.

“There are three key strategic themes when looking at different aspects of prevention. The first is environmental factors; what can we do to help people live healthier lifestyles.

“The second is secondary prevention - helping people make healthier choices.

“The third is to ensure the services needed to tackle excess weight are provided across the town. ”

Councillors approved the recommendations for a Healthy Weight Strategy and the Action Plan which will be rolled out across the town from 2015 to 2025.

Hartlepool Borough Council will lead the strategy and Hartlepool Healthy Weight Healthy Lives Strategic Group will be responsible for carrying it out.

They will report progress of the strategy to the Health and Wellbeing board on a six month basis.

An action plan was approved to tackle the problem which includes working with schools to develop a ‘curriculum for life’ to promote a healthy lifestyle.