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Why an Alliance to address obesity

Almost 70% of our adult population has excess weight, with approximately 30% being obese. Young adults (aged 16 – 24 years) in St Helens are typically almost twice as likely to be obese than peers in Halton, Knowsley and Liverpool, and St Helens children are much more likely to have excess weight than children across the region and nationally with over 10% of reception age and over 20% of year 6 age being obese.

Obesity is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as a cause of premature mortality and a variety of cancers. Quality of life can be significantly impacted upon where excess weight is present through back pain, joint issues and breathlessness.

This presents a growing concern across all age groups that cost the NHS locally in excess of £14 million and the wider economy in excess of £45 million due to the impact on workplaces being substantial with significant increases in absenteeism as well as presenteeism.

Obese workers typically take more sick days, have longer sick leaves and incur greater productivity losses than non-obese workers. In terms of numbers, obese people on average take 4 extra sick days per year and will cost an organisation of 1000 employees more than £126,000 a year in lost productivity[1] - these figures are similar to those seen in employees who smoke.


Obesity is preventable.

Through achieving the Chief Medical Officers recommendations on weekly activity and eating a balanced diet with appropriate portion control, local people can achieve a healthier weight and waist line.

Organisations across St Helens can play significant roles in helping to turn the tide on obesity. We can influence and enable positive behaviours amongst our employees, customers and the local population as a whole.

Collectively, even through small commitments and changes, we can see a big difference across the borough.

Case Studies of good practice to reduce obesity

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[1] NICE – local government briefing 2012