Press Release

Increase in Obesity Places Strain on Resources says Health Committee

Session: 2009/2010

Date: Monday, 16 November 2009

Reference: PN HSSPS 02/09/10

Growing levels of obesity place an enormous strain on the local healthcare system and budgets. That’s the message from the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Health Committee which today released a comprehensive report into obesity. The report brings together the main findings of an inquiry which the Committee launched in January 2009.

Speaking at the launch, the Committee Chairperson, Jim Wells MLA said: “The Committee was shocked at the prevalence of obesity in our society. The health complications that are associated with it affect all of our people, both young and old.

“When we started this inquiry, the Committee wished to ensure that it focused not only on the causes and treatment for obesity but also on the need to develop and promote preventative strategies.

Jim Wells MLA continued: “Growing levels of obesity continue to place an enormous strain on both health care resources and budgets. It is estimated that by 2050—60% of males and 50% of females could be clinically obese.

“If we do not take immediate action to devise a holistic approach to tackle this issue, it will spiral to unmanageable levels in terms of public health and the future availability of health care provision.”

The Report incorporates a range of information garnered through a series of evidence based sessions. The Committee has highlighted a number of recommendations on encouraging healthy lifestyles and a co-ordinated approach across Government departments.

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

The Report highlighted the following recommendations for action by Government departments:

  1. The need to develop and implement a broad and vigorous strategy to begin to turn the tide of obesity across the different population groups in Northern Ireland.
  2. Introducing an effective range of services to manage and treat the rapidly increasing number of people who currently suffer from serious and life threatening obesity-related illnesses.
  3. Taking into account the potential impact that a wide range of factors in the physical, socio-economic and cultural environment have on obesity.
  4. The importance of a strong partnership between researchers, stakeholders, communities, politicians and policy makers.
  5. Requesting the Department to examine how data collection can be improved through reform and better funding of the Child Health System.
  6. Learning from the examples of good practice in other jurisdictions, including the Healthy Weight, Health Lives strategy in England.

Committee Membership:

Mr. Jim Wells (Chairperson)
Ms. Michelle O’Neill (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr. Kieran Deeny
Mr. Alex Easton
Mr. Sam Gardiner
Ms. Carmel Hanna
Mrs. Dolores Kelly
Mr. John McCallister
Mrs. Claire McGill
Ms. Sue Ramsey
Mrs. Iris Robinson

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