Isle of Man health plan launched to tackle obesity

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A campaign aimed at tackling the Isle of Man's growing weight problem has been launched by the health department.

Government figures show that more than half of all adults on the island (50.4%) are now overweight or obese.

The research also shows that more than 7% of four to five-year-olds on the island are classed as obese.

Dawn Henley from public health said overweight or obese children were at risk of developing both physical and mental health issues.

She added: "Overweight children do get bullied and this can have a long-lasting affect on their state of mind - you can imagine how hard it must be for an obese child to take part in PE lesson at school.

"The island's health department is also seeing more and more children are presenting with type-two diabetes. This is something which can be addressed by lifestyle changes."

The government's obesity strategy involves bringing together different departments to encourage people to lead a healthier lifestyle.

"We are planning to provide more nutritional advice in schools and finding ways to encourage people to take exercise part of their daily routine," said Ms Henley.

"Maybe more children would walk or cycle to school if parents felt the roads and pavements were safer so there is a lot to look at.

"But we are also encouraging individuals to look at their own lives to see how they can be healthier.

"For example cutting out sugary drinks can have a big impact on a child's diet, if you imagine that some cans of pop contain about 16 teaspoons of sugar."

A copy of the Isle of Man government's obesity health plan is available online.

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