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£5.5m to help prevent and reduce obesity in Wales

Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething has announced an extra £5.5m to back plans to halt obesity in Wales.

The money will be used to support the Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales Delivery Plan 2020-22, which the Minister launched during a visit to see a healthy eating project at a playgroup in Cardiff. 

Mr Gething said:

Obesity ranks among the biggest public health challenge we face and I want Wales to be one of the first countries in the world to see a decline in obesity rates.

To achieve this we need to see change in every part of our society and I want us to shape an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice. We will work with people across Wales to enable positive change, starting with support in the crucial early years of life. I am visiting Tiny Tigers Play Group today to hear about the great work taking place with families and children to encourage positive food choices.

This first delivery plan for our strategy, sets out what we are doing to support people of all ages across every part of Wales to make healthier lifestyle choices. Small changes in our everyday habits can bring significant, lasting health benefits for us all.

The £5.5m announced today is made up of:

  • £4.1m for health boards and partners to provide support services for adults, young people and families to maintain a healthy weight.
  • £600,000 for a children and families programme to support healthy weight projects like the one the Minister visited today.
  • £500,000 to be invested in a sport and leisure offer for over-60s.
  • £300,000 will fund grants for sports bodies and evaluation.

The delivery plan also sets-out a number of other cross-government projects under eight priority areas.

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These include:

  • Helping Welsh food business develop healthy products.
  • Improve access to healthy food and drink within our NHS sites.
  • Increase drinking water stations.
  • Invest in cycling and walking routes.
  • Increase access to outdoor recreation.
  • Tackling barriers to reduce diet and health inequalities.
  • Healthy weight programmes for pre-school children.
  • Include nutrition and healthy eating in the new curriculum.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton, said:

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

We recognise changing lifestyle habits can be challenging but this plan sets out how every part of government is working to help individuals make those changes.

The Minister was visiting the Tiny Tigers Playgroup at Mount Stuart Primary School in Cardiff. He saw children take part in the active nutrition programme delivered by Cardiff Flying Start team. They were joined by TV Chef and Healthy Weight : Healthy Wales Ambassador Beca Lyne-Pirkis.

Beca said:

It was great to see the children have fun learning about food and nutrition. The funding announced today will be used to run more projects like this across Wales to get children and young people involved in food and enjoy cooking. It’s a brilliant way to help people understand the importance in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy attitude towards food in general.

The money announced includes funding to develop locally delivered projects, like the one at Tiny Tigers, to prevent and reduce obesity across Wales.

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