Public Health

Obesity Management

Definition of overweight and obesity:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes obesity and overweight as conditions in which excess body fat has accumulated to such an extent that health may be adversely affected.

  • Obesity is a disease
  • Obesity is a disease that kills people and causes or promotes enormous amounts of morbidity
  • Obesity is responsible for 9.000 premature deaths per year in the UK
  • Obesity reduces life expectancy by up to nine years
  • Obesity is common
  • 22% of men, 23.5% of women and 13.7% of children aged 11 have been classified as obese
  • Obesity is becoming increasingly common.  The prevalence has trebled in the last 20 years
  • Obesity is more common in people in lower socioeconomic groups
  • Obesity affects all age groups
  • Obesity in the population increases with age
  • The prevalence of obesity amongst schoolchildren appears to be increasing which potentially bears major risks for the health of the future adult population

Diagnosing overweight and obesity is easy.  The traditional marker of obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI); BMI = Weight / Height.

A BMI of over 30 is associated with a reduced life expectancy of over 5 years.

Obesity is an important risk factor for a number of chronic diseases that constitute the principle causes of death in England, including heart disease, stroke and some cancers.  It also contributes to other serious life shortening conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes.

The key aims of weight and obesity management are to help individuals:

  • Achieve a realistic weight loss
  • Promote sustained changes in lifestyle through managing risk factors such as smoking, physical inactivity and inappropriate diets
  • Maintain weight loss and improve health and well-being

Reducing childhood obesity is one of the key public health priorities to tackle health inequality.

In West Hertfordshire the percentage of children overweight or obese in Reception was 25% which is higher than the national value of 22.9%, Year 6 was 27.6% which was below the national average of 31.6%.

The Trust is committed to support NHS Hertfordshire (PCT) in its objectives to provide personalised support for overweight and obese children and their families and explore projects to monitor and review patients in line with NICE guidelines.  This will include monitoring the height and weight (BMI) of all pregnant women at the booking appointment.

Useful information, to include links to:
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