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Obesity Overtaking Smoking as Biggest Welsh Health Risk

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Obesity is overtaking smoking as the biggest risk to health in Wales, experts have warned.

The “stark” problem with overweight children could also mean this generation will not live as long as their parents, according to Wales’ chief medical officer.

It comes as the nation’s first strategy to combat obesity is launched.

What is the obesity problem in Wales?

  • One in eight of four and five-year-olds are obese – and this is worse in more deprived parts of Wales
  • Another 10,000 more adults become obese every year
  • One in three adults aged 45 to 64 are obese
  • It is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer – after smoking

Sarah Mirfin, Healthy Hearts Co-Ordinator at Heart Research UK, said:

“We are delighted to hear the news of the ‘Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales’ consultation and wholeheartedly support initiatives that help people to eat better and move more.

“Those who are living with obesity are more than two and a half times more likely to develop high blood pressure and five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes – it shouldn’t be surprising that excessive weight drives up the age of your heart.

“At Heart Research UK we believe wholeheartedly that everyone in Wales should be enabled and supported to live healthier, happier and longer lives, starting at community level.”

Community groups in Wales that help local people look after their hearts can now apply for a regional grant up to £10,000, thanks to national charity Heart Research UK and the Subway® brand.

The beneficiary of the Welsh Heart Research UK and Subway® Healthy Heart Grant for 2018 was Rhonda Netball, which gave women and girls from Rhonda the opportunity to get fit and make new friends.

Jody Barnes, Operations Manager for Rhondda Netball, said:

“In Rhondda, male sport dominates. Females experience an enormous lack of opportunities, and throughout the region obesity is widespread and a lack of motivation to take part in physical activity is at an all-time high. We want to change that.

“We wanted to give power back to the girls and make our activities available to as many females in Rhondda as possible, to help boost the heart-health of Welsh women.”

The opening date for 2019 applications is 1 February 2019. To apply, and for more information, visit https://heartresearch.org.uk/apply/healthy-hearts