Written by Tom Beasley, CEO
Encouraging people to maintain a healthy weight is important for our county if we want people to be healthy. Achieving a healthy weight has never been more important as we continue to learn about the increased impact of coronavirus for people who are unable to maintain a body mass index of below 25.
It sits alongside physical activity and other areas of focus, such as preventing adverse childhood experiences as priority areas for Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire’s Health and Wellbeing Board has committed to doing more work in these areas so that our county’s residents can live healthier lives.
At the last Health and Wellbeing Board meeting, colleagues from Gloucestershire’s public health team were able to report on some positive progress that has been made to support people to achieve a healthy weight, however they recognised that there’s more to do. In fact, there are lots of similarities with the challenges faced by those of us that are working to increase people’s physical activity levels.
We can do more
At Active Gloucestershire we help people to be more active by supporting Gloucestershire’s movement for physical activity, we can move. We do this because we know that being more active through sport, or just everyday life, can improve people’s physical and mental health. We can move has a set of values which underpin how we work and affirm our commitment to learning and developing with the aim to getting everyone in Gloucestershire active.
Through our work we have learnt that the reasons people aren’t active aren’t always easy to solve. From our partnership work, research and systems mapping we know that there is also a link between activity levels and healthy weight, which is sometimes seen as a positive outcome from being more active, but the relationship is complex. We have already been able to work in partnership with people looking at the challenges associated with achieving a healthy weight, including sharing our approach to behaviour change and systems working.
We have a responsibility to work collaboratively with the people and organisations that share the we can move values. We know that some of the reasons that people find it hard to maintain a healthy weight are also the challenges that they face in being physically active. This might be, for example, because of access to transport, social isolation, money, or perhaps because people don’t have access to green space close to home.
I’m sure that as we work together on these common issues we will see impact across all our work. I want us to continue to build relationships with organisations that are supporting people to access healthy food. If we can support this work I’m certain we will see more people becoming active and it doesn’t matter if this is as a by-product of someone losing weight.
We should stand shoulder to shoulder with those that want Gloucestershire to be a healthier place to live and support people to make lasting changes in their own communities, being confident that in doing so we will deliver the impact that we set out to achieve.
We all have a role to play
As leaders we all have a role to find the commonality in our work and strengths in our communities, so that we can support people to make lasting, positive choices. Let’s keep working closely together to share, learn and drive that change. I’m sure our outcomes will be better and the changes we make will last for longer when we do.
Get in touch
If you would like to talk about this article or on getting us all moving more, email me.