O’Neill shows her Department’s continued commitment to tackling obesity

Date published: 15 September 2016

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has shown her commitment to tackling the prevalence of overweight and obesity following the online publication of the latest progress report for the current obesity prevention framework "A Fitter Future for All".

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill
Health Minister Michelle O'Neill

The report highlights the actions undertaken to deliver on the short term outcomes which had been developed for the period 2012-2015.

Publishing the progress report online, Minister O’Neill said: “Obesity continues to negatively affect the health and wellbeing of so many people here in the north.

“Eating a nutritious balanced diet and taking part in daily physical exercise provides a huge benefit to your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

“The Framework has made great strides already in progressing the outcomes agreed by key stakeholders including the "Choose to Live Better" public information campaigns and developing and mainstreaming the "Weigh to a Healthy Pregnancy" programme but there is still more that can be done.

“In the long run, a reduction in overweight and obesity in the population will result in a reduction of obesity related health conditions. This will in turn have a positive impact on our health care system as it will reduce pressures on frontline health services, and make for a healthier and happier population.”

The Minister concluded by saying: “I am very pleased to see Department, agencies, councils, and voluntary and community groups all working together collectively to deliver on the outcomes from this framework. These actions will provide a long term benefit to the overall health and wellbeing of the entire population.”

The 2012-2015 progress report is available online

Notes to editors: 

1. Obesity occurs when an individual takes in more energy through food and drink than they use up through natural bodily processes and physical activity.

2. Obesity is usually measured by Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a ratio of a person’s height and weight. In adults having a BMI of 25-30 is classified as being overweight and having a BMI of 30 or more is classified as obese. Waist measurement is a simple alternative measure which everyone can use to identify if they may be at increased risk of obesity related health problems. A waist size of 37 inches or more in men, and 32 inches or more in women puts you at increased risk of heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

3. Evidence shows that obesity:

  • reduces life expectancy by up to nine years
  • increases the risk of the north of Ireland’s biggest killers – coronary heart disease and some cancers
  • increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – an obese woman is ten times more likely to develop diabetes than one who is not overweight
  • can impact on emotional/psychological well-being and self-esteem, especially among young people

4. The following overarching targets have been set:

  • adults - To reduce the level of obesity by 4% and overweight and obesity by 3% by 2022
  • children - A 3% reduction of obesity and 2% reduction of overweight and obesity by 2022

5. The Department’s statistics on obesity can be found online

6. The Framework and associated reports can be accessed via the Department’s obesity webpage

7. Media enquires about this press release contact DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0505. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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