Report on obesity treatment in Wales published

All health boards in Wales have made progress in developing specialist services for people with obesity problems.

The Welsh Government launched the All-Wales Obesity Pathway in 2010. It sets out a four-phase approach to manage and treat obesity in Wales which includes community-based prevention and early intervention services, specialist weight management services and bariatric surgery. It involves health boards working with local authorities and other services and groups to tackle the obesity problem in Wales.

Level one services aim to ensure opportunities are available and promoted for people to achieve and help maintain a healthy body weight. Level four is about providing specialist medical and surgical services for those people who have not managed to lose weight through other more conventional methods.

The 2014 progress report evaluates how each of the seven health boards in Wales is delivering the four levels.

All health boards, working with their partners, are providing level one and two services.

The report confirms that although only Aneurin Bevan University Health Board offers a level three weight management service which meets all the minimum standards, five other health boards are providing evidence of meeting some of the minimum standards or are providing a level three service for a particular patient group, such as orthopaedic patients, which could be adapted more widely.

The proportion of the Welsh adult population which is overweight or obese currently stands at 58% and illnesses associated with obesity are estimated to cost the Welsh NHS more than £73m a year.

In his capacity as Health Minister, Mark said:

“Obesity is a major issue for Wales. It can result in serious, life-threatening harm to people’s health while at the same time costing the NHS millions of pounds a year to treat.

“There are no easy answers – the NHS cannot end obesity tomorrow and we can’t rely on individuals to just change their behaviour overnight. That is why our approach is about working together. Together we can make sustainable changes to our living environment to help adults and children improve their quality of life.

“This report shows the progress we have made, however, there is more to be done and in some areas the provision of services remains inconsistent.

“We will continue to do all we can to encourage and support individuals to make healthier lifestyle choices, including having a healthier diet and being more physically active, that will benefit all of society.”