Welsh health survey: 57% of adults overweight or obese

An obese woman Obesity rates have increased in Wales since 2003

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More than half of adults in Wales are overweight or obese, according to the latest Welsh Health Survey.

The annual survey says the problem affects 57% of adults, with 22% being obese. In children, 35% are considered overweight or obese (19% obese).

The overall figure for adults remains unchanged from last year's survey, despite warnings about the problem.

Obesity specialist Dr Nadim Haboubi has blamed a lack of NHS funding for essential surgery and community help.

Dr Haboubi, who is also chair of the National Obesity Forum for Wales and runs the country's only NHS-funded obesity clinic, said last month that the problem was "huge, massive, worse than England, worse than anywhere in the UK and among the worst in the western world, I would argue".

"The worst is probably the USA but we're certainly not far behind," he said.

Other findings in this year's survey include:

  • 43% of adults reported drinking above recommended guidelines on at least one day in the past week, with 27% reporting drinking twice the daily guidelines (binge-drinking)
  • 34% of adults said their day-to-day activities were limited because of a health problem
  • Only a third of adults reported eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day
  • 29% of adults reported being physically active on five or more days in the past week
  • 16% of adults said their health in general was excellent, 34% very good, 30% good, 15% fair and 6% poor
  • 32% of adults reported attending the outpatient department of a hospital in the last 12 months

Another document, Trends in health-related lifestyle in Wales, looks at trends in Welsh health surveys from 2003/4 to 2011.

Among other findings, it says:

  • Obesity rates have increased since 2003, although they appear to be rising more slowly since 2007
  • Smoking rates decreased between 2003/4 and 2011
  • There has been little change in the overall levels of drinking above guidelines and binge drinking since 2008
  • Since 2008, there was a slight decrease in the percentage of adults consuming five or more portions of fruit and veg
  • Physical activity levels remained relatively stable between 2003/4 and 2011

Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, said: "We have seen a slow down in rising obesity rates in recent years and smoking rates have decreased since 2003/04.

"There has been little change in alcohol consumption and physical activity rates over the past few years.

"However there is no room for complacency when it comes to encouraging healthier behaviour and there is more to be done."

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