- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
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MIKE HEDGES ASKS WELSH GOVERNMENT MINISTER WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING TO PREVENT HEART DISEASE
Speaking from the Senedd, local Swansea East MS, Mike Hedges said.. ‘ Heart disease is one of the leading causes of ill health in Wales and a lot of it can be prevented with better life style choices. It is pleasing to hear that the Welsh Government has an anti-obesity strategy, but I wonder how many people are aware of it. I hope that the Government step up efforts to publicise the anti-obesity strategy and ensure that people are aware of it. I wish the Welsh Government well in its tasks of fighting Obesity – it is a battle we all need the Government to win.’
Mike Hedges MS
- What steps is the Welsh Government taking to prevent heart disease? OQ58332
Individuals can take a range of steps to reduce their chances of developing heart disease, by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, for example. Our ‘Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales’ and tobacco control strategies are developing a range of measures to support people to make those healthier choices.153
Can I thank you for that answer? We know that smoking has reduced, and is continuing to reduce, and many of us are waiting for it to reach zero. Unfortunately, obesity is moving in the opposite direction, and that is causing a large number of people to suffer from things that can cause heart disease. Hardening of the arteries happens 10 times more often in people who are obese than in people who are not obese. So, will the Welsh Government develop an obesity strategy in order to try and get people to their correct weight? That’s going to have to involve a lot of social action; rather than giving people a tablet for everything, try and get people exercising, try and get people dieting, and try and get people taking some responsibility for their own health, rather than hoping a doctor will solve everything.154
Thank you very much, Mike. You’ll be pleased to know that we have a really comprehensive anti-obesity strategy in Wales called ‘Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales’. It’s a 10-year strategy that we are breaking up into two-year delivery plans so that we can really focus on making sure that we are delivering in what is a really complex area. It is a hugely challenging area, because we all know when habits are unhealthy, but getting people to change those habits is really complex. So, we have a multifaceted approach in our strategy that involves behaviour change, it involves funding things like the pilots for children and young people; we’re investing very significantly in the all-Wales weight management programme to make sure that there are pathways in all parts of Wales, and we’re investing in community sports, in the healthy and active fund, and also, vitally, our plan includes, as I said in response to James Evans earlier on, a strong focus on the role of education and making sure that young people learn from an early age how to become more healthy. It is a really challenging agenda, but we are very committed to doing it. We have a new implementation board, which I chair, we’ve got very senior leaders from across Wales on that board, and we are absolutely determined to drive forward this agenda.155
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