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Obesity is not a lifestyle choice. Now we need action to help those who are already obese

Responding to the Welsh government’s obesity plan, Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales, RCP vice president for Wales, Dr Gareth Llewelyn said:

 

‘Obesity is not a lifestyle choice. It is a disease caused by health inequalities, genetic influences and social factors, which is why I’m pleased to see that the Welsh government is promising a shift of resources to early intervention. There is no easy solution to tackling obesity and ministers across all government departments will need to show leadership and come together to help people live more healthily. 

 

‘It’s excellent news that obesity is to become a Tier 1 target for health boards. The obesity epidemic is now costing the Welsh NHS millions of pounds every year and puts patients at high risk of developing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke which can have a devastating impact on families across Wales. Without health board investment in specialist services, we will continue to see a rise in hospital admissions for obesity-related conditions.

 

‘However, I’m disappointed to see that we’re still waiting for the Welsh government to explain how they’re going to help people who are already obese. Health boards were told to implement the all Wales obesity pathway almost a decade ago, but we’ve seen very little or no progress in most parts of the country. We desperately need more specialist medical services with clinical and psychological support for those with severe and complex obesity – the Welsh government must now ensure that the new clinical obesity pathway is developed and implemented sooner rather than later.’