ASH Wales has welcomed the launch of Wales’ first strategy to tackle obesity – praising the government’s focus on the nation’s health and well-being.
As an organisation campaigning for tobacco control policies to reduce smoking prevalence in Wales, ASH Wales supports any efforts to tackle preventable diseases by helping to change people’s lifestyles.
The Welsh Government’s consultation Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales sets out a 10-year plan to reduce obesity in Wales amidst warnings that obesity could overtake smoking as a leading cause of preventable disease in the country.
Like obesity, smoking prevalence is linked to inequality, with the highest rates being in the country’s most deprived areas. ASH Wales is calling for a targeted strategy to tackle both smoking and obesity and the links to inequality.
Smoking is the single biggest driver of health inequalities in Wales where 19% of the adult population smoke, a fifth of the population. Smoking rates in the most deprived areas of Wales stand at 28% compared to 13% among the least deprived adults.
Across Wales lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths – there were 1,891 deaths from lung cancer in 2017 and it accounted for over two in every 10 cancer deaths – more than bowel and breast cancer combined.
ASH Wales CEO, Suzanne Cass, said:
“We support all efforts to improve the health and well being of the nation and welcome the launch of a strategy to tackle obesity, in particular among children.
“ASH Wales campaigns not just to reduce smoking prevalence but to prevent future generations from taking up the habit by lobbying for tobacco control policies that help to de-normalise smoking.
“Strategies for tackling both smoking and obesity and protecting the health of future generations must be included in all Welsh Government health plans.”