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Healthy weight and healthy eating

The information on this page was compiled before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has had a significant impact on many aspects of daily life.  Data and intelligence are emerging all the time about the effects of the virus and the measures taken to control its spread.  Accordingly, we will update this page as relevant information becomes available.

Obesity and excess weight

Obesity is a leading cause of ill health; an independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, as well as increasing the likelihood of developing other risk factors such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and type II diabetes.

Obesity is commonly measured using weight and height to give a Body Mass Index (BMI) metric. Poor diet (containing a high proportion of foods high in fat, sugars and salt) and lack of exercise can lead to obesity, which in turn is a risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.

One in ten 6 year olds and one in five 11 year olds are obese in Herefordshire

In England, child BMI is measured at Reception Year (age 4 to 5 years) and Year 6 (aged 10 to 11 years) through the mandatory National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). For the majority of children excess weight gain is the result of eating more calories than needed and/or undertaking too little physical activity to match calorie intake, or a combination of both.

In 2018/19, 10.3% of reception year children in Herefordshire were obese, while the combined proportion of obese and overweight was 23.7%.  For year 6 children, the prevalence of obesity was 21.0%, while the combined figure for obese and overweight children was 34.7%. For both age groups there were no significant differences between the local and national figures.

Two thirds of adults overweight and one in ten obese

In 2017/18, 64.5% of adults in Herefordshire were estimated to be overweight or obese, similar to the national figure of 62.0% and the West Midlands figure of 65.7%. Comparison with GP records indicates that it is highly probable that obesity prevalence is under-recorded.

According to Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) in 2017/18 approximately 15,600 adults registered with a Herefordshire general practitioner (GP) practice were obese, which represents 10.2% of all patients aged 18 years and over, a higher proportion than that reported for England..

Fruit and vegetable consumption higher than across England and the West Midlands

Results from the What About Youth (WAY) survey suggest that in 2014/15 an average of 2.48 portions of fruit and 2.54 portions of vegetables were consumed daily at age 15 in Herefordshire; more than nationally or regionally.

Data from Sport England’s Active Lives survey  suggests that in 2017/18, the average number of portions of vegetables consumed daily by Herefordshire adults was 3.02, significantly more than in England and across the West Midlands region.  The average daily consumption of fruit by Herefordshire was 2.86 portions, a figure also higher than those reported national and regionally.