Support Sport this National Obesity Awareness Week


It’s two weeks into the New Year and we’re at the point where many of us forget about our resolution of shedding a couple of pounds. With that in mind, this week is National Obesity Awareness Week.

Obesity increases the risk of developing a number of serious diseases which reduce our life expectancy and costs the NHS greatly. According to National Obesity Awareness Week (NOAW) there are over 12,000 hospital appointments a year for obesity related conditions in the UK. They estimate that as many as half of us could be obese by 2050.

The local picture is even more worrying as I learnt when I hosted a diabetes screening with the Silver Star diabetes charity last year. Using stats from Public Health England, almost a quarter of children in Birmingham (23.4%) are classified as obese, compared with 10.1% nationally. Meanwhile the number of recorded cases of diabetes is double the UK average, affecting almost 8% of Brummies compared to a 3.5% national average.

The challenges of preventing childhood obesity and diabetes are only made more difficult when observing that below half of the adult population in our area (46.9%) is considered physically active. Across the UK nationally, the average is far greater – over two-thirds (68.5%).

The lack of exercise amongst adults, clearly risks promoting inactive lifestyles to children which has the knock on effect to the worryingly high rates of childhood obesity which we see in our area. That’s why this National Obesity Awareness Week I went along to the launch of the Youth Sport Trust’s manifesto for building sports programmes in schools.

Prioritising PE and sports at school is essential to improving the habits of children. Sport and exercise not only helps to cut obesity and improve health, but builds confidence, resilience and self-esteem.

Follow the link to find out more about the Youth Sport Trust.

To calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to see if you are a healthy weight visit the NHS website.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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