Funding boost for the battle against obesity

THE area’s obesity problem will be tackled further after grants totalling more than £350,000 were secured.

Tameside Council is one of only 20 around the country to receive money from the Government to push its adult weight management services.

It is also one of only seven to receive cash for similar involving children and young people.

And it is hoped the financial boost can have a positive impact on people’s health, with programs being designed already.

Although the sum is a one-off payment, it is hoped its effects can last much longer.

Cllr Eleanor Wills

Figures reveal the scale of the borough’s weight problem as 71 per cent of adults are now classed as overweight or obese, compared to 62 per cent in England as a whole.

This includes an estimated 22,000 patients registered with GPs in Tameside who are recorded as obese.

It is a similar story in younger people. Among four and five-year-olds, 27 per cent of children in Tameside are overweight or obese compared to an England average of 23 per cent. That rises to 36 per cent of children in school year six.

And a report adds even geography can play a part, stating: “In Tameside, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children differs across the borough, with some communities affected more than others.

“For example, many of the wards in the west generally having higher levels of overweight and obesity than those in the east.”

Tameside Council has been awarded £209,741 of a central £30.5 million fund for its adult weight management services and £153,468 of a further £4.4 million for children and young people.

Delivered by Be Well, which is run by Pennine NHS Trust, and Active Tameside through its Live Active scheme, it will include initial one-to-one sessions to understand the needs of each person and will work with 16 to 18-year-olds in partnership with Tameside College, as well as residents with disabilities or additional needs.

A social media platform for the program giving information on things like exercise, meal plans and food preparation will also be created.

Debbie Watson, assistant director of population health, told how the grants will focus minds, saying:

“The guidance really encourages localities to scale up their existing weight management services.

“It’s proposed the adults’ grant is split with quite a targeted approach to identify those residents who don’t engage at the moment.

Tameside Council
Tameside One

“What the children’s funding will enable us to do is upscale the Jumpz program and we’re aligning it to our family intervention model.

“It’ll help staff in social care come together with a children’s nutrition worker and some psychological support to expand out the service, particularly for children over 13-years-old.

“Although the funding is short-term, the results will be fed in nationally to Public Health England to look at whether the funding will be extended into the next financial year.

“We’re looking at developing some very bespoke services for some under-represented groups – those with mental health needs and long-term conditions and men with the Be Well service.
“We’ll look at perhaps engaging with football clubs.

“With the Live Active scheme, we hope to build this program and leave a legacy.”

The children’s grant will see a new multi-disciplinary team, involving a family intervention worker with Tameside Council, a Nutrition Advisor, a support worker with Tameside and Glossop NHS Trust, and two family coaches with Active Tameside created

News of the applications’ success has been welcomed, with Councillor Eleanor Wills saying: “It’s apparent to us all there’s a need for this sort of service in Tameside.

“I’m hopeful that at some stage this level of funding will be embedded.

“The need for services like this has exponentially grown during the pandemic and I don’t see it will disappear any time soon.”

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