A new approach is being taken to tackle obesity on the Isle of Wight, where nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight.
Isel of Wight director of public health, Simon Bryant, says steps will be taken to ‘change the blame game’ and create healthy environments for all, instead of considering individual behaviour, by addressing factors which lead to a person becoming overweight or obese.
Speaking at a meeting of the Isle of Wight cabinet, Mr Bryant said:
“We know that many people know what they should be doing to achieve a healthy weight but it is a real struggle.
“Thinking about the environment and the factors that can have a greater impact on excess weight is what we need to take forward.”
On the Island, 62.3% of adults are either overweight or obese — 68% of men and 58% of women. In addition, 32.8% of children aged 10 to 11 are deemed to have excess weight.
The report says younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and sets out actions the Isle of Wight Council and its health partners will encourage people to take, such as walking and cycling instead of driving and supporting education settings to lay the foundations of a healthy and active lifestyle.
In a whole-system approach to create the healthier environment, Mr Bryant is asking other parts of the council’s help in influencing food environments, transport, infrastructure decisions and the places we live and learn through planning and shaping developments.
Councillor Clare Mosdell, cabinet member for adult social care, public health and housing needs, said there was an ‘even greater urgency’ to tackle the issue following Covid-19 as the national restrictions will have further impacted people’s weight and research has shown being overweight or obese puts individuals at a greater risk of serious harm from the virus.