A specialist dietitian was among expert speakers at a community event into how people in Hartlepool are being helped and supported around the issue of obesity.
The Healthwatch Hartlepool event at the town’s Civic Centre heard from Vanessa Osborne, specialist bariatric dietitian at our Trust. She spoke about how patients are being helped to improve their health.
Context and strategy
Craig Blundred, director of public health at Hartlepool Council, also explained the context and strategy to improve people’s health.
Hartlepool currently has the third highest obesity rate in England. Nearly 30 per cent of reception year children and 39 per cent of year six pupils being classed as overweight.
Craig said: “The challenge is significant. This is a widespread issue – the key thing to stress is that it is not just about behaviour.
“We can’t just say to people ‘eat less and move more’, it isn’t that simple. There are many different factors involved. Historically, we have focussed on individual behaviour change – we know that doesn’t work.
“It really is a whole system approach – public health, the NHS, local businesses, anyone who advertises.
“We want to build a social movement here in Hartlepool.”
In 2017/18, it cost Hartlepool £4.5m in health costs and nearly 20m in total costs to tackle obesity.
Bariatric care at our Trust
Vanessa Osborne, who cares for bariatric patients at the Trust, explained the Trust four-tier model used to treat patients.
The trust can provide expert support and advice to patients and has a specialist bariatric service to help those people who need it.
She said: “We advise and support our patients around how they can change their lifestyle – looking at things like portion sizes, a balanced diet and promoting physical activity.
“What may not be seen as a victory for one patient may be a success for another.
“For some of our patients, being able to get through the turnstile at a football match is a success, or getting into their seat on a flight and so on.
“It’s about helping people improve their health and their quality of life.”
Christopher Akers-Belcher, chief executive of Healthwatch Hartlepool, said: “I’d like to thank both Craig and Vanessa for giving such interesting and impactful presentations.
“The feedback from attendees was excellent and praise was given to the quality of the speakers and the information provided.”