Sheffield’s £165million obesity timebomb

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A £165 million obesity timebomb could ‘explode’ with disastrous consequences for Sheffield’s health if urgent action is not taken to stop people getting fat, the council has warned.

A Sheffield Council report says the city’s expanding waistline is putting pressure on spending, and officers have outlined a raft of proposals aimed at slashing a shocking ‘overweight rate’.

Some 59.9 per cent of adults in Sheffield are overweight or obese according to the Child and Adult Weight Management Commissioning and Procurement Plan report.

The document also reveals almost one in four – or 22 per cent – of all pregnant mums-to-be are too fat, something which could increase infant mortality.

And the 32 per cent of people aged 15 or over who are overweight is likely to be an underestimate the report states – which also reveals one in six reception-age school children is overweight or obese.

The cost of treating the city’s resultant health problems could be as much as £165m per year by 2015, including £14.5m in estimated annual obesity-related sickness costs and £11.5m spent directly treating obesity.

The report has revealed a planned increase in spending on overweight and obesity services to tackle the issue, as well as a diversion of funding from late intervention towards early prevention.

Sheffield Council cabinet member Coun Jack Scott, who worked on the report, says action must be taken now or the city will face the consequences in the future.

He said: “This is about preventing a ticking timebomb. If we did nothing it would be a disaster in the long term – we would have this explode on us.”

Coun Scott revealed ‘ambitious’ plans to halve the number of overweight people in Sheffield in five years, focusing on stopping people getting overweight in the first place as well as educating parents.