Services are insufficient to combat Sutton's obesity problem, warns report
Services combating obesity in the borough are insufficient to deal with the soaring problem, a worrying report has revealed.
Both child and adult obesity is increasing in Sutton combined with an adverse trend in people exercising.
And council bosses believe the amount of programmes and activities available to people in the borough is not enough to get everyone trim.
Targets have been set by the Sutton Health and Wellbeing Board for obesity and physical exercise while groups have been set up to develop plans to combat the problem.
The borough’s schools are reviewing their catering policies and the council is planning to improve the availability of healthy food choices in and outside council premises with a major goal being the removal of sugary drinks from vending machines.
Money has been set aside from the Public Health ring-fenced budget to increase the availability of services but the council were unable to divulge how much the budget was or how much money was to be spent on the borough’s obesity problem because they were about to go through a tendering exercise.
The council already has a child weight management service, Alive n' Kicking, which they plan to extend.
They are also piloting adult weight management sessions and aim to commission a future programme of these.
The National Obesity Forum, a charity raising awareness of the emerging obesity epidemic, is regularly asked to advise local authorities.
A spokesman for the charity said: "The opinion of the National Obesity Forum is that they will have a very hard job of succeeding.
"My advice to Sutton would be to start young and catch them early - then you have got a real chance that this [advice] will stay with them.
"It will take 10 to 15 years for Sutton to see significant change. In my eyes that’s only if they address that problem now.
"I have every sympathy for Sutton and every local authority has been left to get on with it by central government."
Dr Ellis Friedman, director of Public Health, for Sutton Council said: "Today, as in all parts of the UK, there is a trend in Sutton of increasing obesity which will cause major health and social care problems if not tackled effectively.
"We are making advice on weight loss and healthy living more widely available and encouraging people to join weight loss groups where participants support each other to lose weight and are given sensible dietary advice."
Last year we revealed the number of obese patients being admitted to St Helier and Epsom hospitals had more than tripled since 2008.
During the financial year 2013-14 the trust spent £30,000 on bariatric equipment and £21,723 for a cooling system at St Helier hospital while Epsom spent £25,000 on bariatric equipment.
New statistics have revealed that about 150 people are treated for weight issues each year at the trust. Up until September last year 6,698 patients were treated for diabetes.
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