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Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Welsh Health Survey

The new Welsh Health survey data makes for worrying reading. There has been a rise in the number of children classified as overweight or obese.

These soaring rates in obesity over recent years has lead to an increase in childhood type II diabetes and will lead to more future cases of heart disease, osteoarthritis and some cancers.

If current trends continue, the cost to the health service is likely to increase unless measures are put in place to halt this growing problem.

We need to prevent children from becoming overweight in the first place, and parents, schools, health professionals, the media, food manufacturers and the government all have an important role to play in this.

The other item which stood out from the data was the increase in smoking amongst men in Wales.

Although smoke-free legislation is making a huge difference to the health of patients, these figures reveal the serious reality of Wales’ smoking problem.

The damage caused by smoking is cumulative. Most people know that smoking causes heart disease and stroke. But they may not realise that if men smoke heavily during their teens and twenties, they risk developing erectile dysfunction in their thirties and forties.

There is no doubt that giving up smoking can be extremely difficult – like any addiction, kicking the habit is no easy task. When smokers decide to quit they are often advised to set a date, bin the cigarettes and then just do it. Support from a doctor or health professional during this time can be invaluable, and I would advise anyone thinking about quitting to contact their GP for advice and support.

What do you make of the data?

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