The Wales Board of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) has welcomed the publication of the Welsh Government’s long-awaited Healthy Weight, Healthy Wales plan, which outlines their strategy to prevent ill health and support people to be a healthy weight. The strategy contains many positive elements, although further detail and funding will be needed to make many of the ambitious proposals a reality.
Alongside colleagues in Obesity Alliance Cymru (OAC), which represents major royal colleges, healthcare organisations and charities, the BDA has long been calling for a comprehensive and ambitious strategy to support the public and manage this major public health issue. Nearly 60% of adults in Wales are now living with obesity or overweight, and this number is rising. We know that obesity increases risk of developing other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, and reduced overall quality of life. This is why it is so important that Welsh Government takes proactive steps to prevent obesity, change obesogenic environments and support people to lose weight.
Lisa Williams RD, Chair of BDA Wales Board said;
It is very encouraging to see that the Welsh Government has taken account of a number of the issues that the Obesity Alliance Cymru had raised over the past two years. We are particularly pleased to see the commitment to giving children the best start through supporting breastfeeding and schemes to support infant feeding ‘overseen by registered dietitians’, ‘evidence-driven dietetic-led programmes’ for weight management and plans to ensure that people have access to the obesity pathway at all ages and across all of Wales.
“Welsh Government has the opportunity to make this a truly world leading strategy, but that will require funding and impetus. By focusing on prevention and building on existing programmes that support people to make sustained changes to their behaviour, we can make big strides in improving the health and wellbeing of the nation. At the moment, the strategy only commits to make change by 2030, but we know that we need to move more quickly than that. We look forward to seeing more detail in implementation plans as soon as possible in the New Year.”
The OAC wanted to see significant action on marketing, promotions, evidence-based training, weight management support and local planning arrangements, so it is very positive to see all these elements included in this initial 10-year plan.
Welsh government has promised to create a National Implementation Board later this year with a view to taking forward the first two years of the strategy.