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BPS comments on launch of Healthy weight: Healthy Wales

18 January 2019

This week the Welsh Government launched its Healthy weight: Healthy Wales consultation, which seeks comments on a series of actions designed, it says, to help people eat more healthily, and lead more active lives.

The consultation - Healthy weight: Healthy Wales - sets out the Welsh Government's ambitions to reduce obesity over the next 10 years.

It aims to end the stigma of talking about being overweight while making the ability to be active and make healthy food choices far easier, regardless of where you live or how much money you have.

Responding to the launch of the consultation Chief Executive of the British Psychological Society (BPS), Sarb Bajwa, said:

“We are pleased to see the Welsh Government acknowledging environmental factors that contribute to rising rates of obesity. Obesity is not simply down to an individual’s lack of willpower. People become overweight or obese as a result of a complex combination of biological and psychological factors combined with environmental and social influences. 

"Many of the ambitions set out by the Welsh Government aim to tackle unhealthy lifestyles and it is good that the strategy acknowledges the need to identity people early and provide psychological support.
 
"However, there is a real gap in the provision of weight management services that means many people are not getting the psychological support they need to reach or maintain a healthy weight. For many, the mantra of ‘eat less, move more’ just isn’t enough to tackle the barriers they face to a healthier lifestyle. 

“The evidence is clear – people need opportunities to explore the underlying reasons they struggle to lose weight. This understanding will help more individuals to permanently change their behaviours. That’s why the Welsh Government needs to ensure universal access to psychological support for people seeking help to manage their weight.”

The Heathly weight: Healthy Wales consultation is open to the 12 April 2019. The BPS Policy Team will prepare a Society response to the consultation. 

Read the BPS briefing paper 'Understanding obesity: The psychological dimensions of a public health crisis' published last year.

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