This National Childhood Obesity Week Richard Forsyth, BHF Scotland’s Regional Service Development Manager, takes a look at what we are doing to combat the issue in one of the UK’s most high risk communities.
During National Childhood Obesity week healthcare bodies, businesses and charities have come together and take action to turn this crisis around.
We are already at the forefront of tackling what has been labelled one of the most pressing public health issues of our time.
Our Hearty Lives project funds localised initiatives in communities at greatest risk of heart disease and stroke to confront these health inequalities head on.
And one such success story, which has helped over 120 young people to improve their health and confidence, is the Weigh to Go project in Glasgow City and Inverclyde.
Childhood obesity in Scotland is a big social issue. The Scottish Public Health Observatory shows that adults, children and young people living in the least affluent communities in and around Glasgow have significantly poorer health outcomes and lower life expectancies than the Scottish average.
One person who was heading toward this future was Radek Dychalski, now aged 19, who lost almost half of his body weight as part of the BHF funded project.
Radek previously weighed 24 stone, had a BMI of 60 and was on medication for people likely to develop type II diabetes.
Since joining the programme Radek's life has been transformed. He has lost more than 11 stone, seen his waist measurement drop by 18 inches and is no longer being prescribed his medication.
Through sheer determination, project support and education Radek has significantly reduced his risk of heart disease.
Prior to joining Weigh to Go, Radek led a sedentary lifestyle and consumed large amounts of junk food, crisps and fizzy drinks.
Radek now exceeds the physical activity recommendations, attending his local gym most days and enjoying a healthy diet.
In addition to the health benefits Radek has seen his confidence and self-esteem improve. He is now attending college and working towards a place at university to study accountancy.
Weight to Go
Following a 1:1 health assessment the young people are supported by local services in Glasgow and Inverclyde for up to 24 weeks, offering a bespoke level of support and interaction which is determined by the individual. Young participants can also benefit from 24 weeks free access to local leisure services and commercial weight management providers.
For more information on the Weigh to Go project or to join, contact the Youth Health Service on 0141 531 8718 (Glasgow) or Your Voice on 01475 728628 (Inverclyde).
Find out more about the BHF can help with our Hearty Lives project.