French lessons tackle obesity

29/05/2009 - 00:00
Lessons from a French programme which has cut childhood obesity by almost a quarter in participating towns are to be trialled in eight towns, villages and cities in Scotland, the Scottish Government has revealed.

Public health minister Shona Robison launched the programme yesterday together with a consultation on revising Scotland's Diabetes Action Plan, as part of a two-pronged approach to tackling obesity. The towns taking part are include Dumfries, Dundee, Stevenston in North Ayrshire and Catrine in East Ayrshire. Ms Robison said: "The French experience can teach us valuable lessons in cutting obesity. Like their French inspirations, our Healthy Weight Communities will bring whole towns together to get more active and eat more healthily." "They'll embrace everything from breastfeeding support groups to walking clubs and healthy local gala days. Crucially, they will involve councils, the NHS, the voluntary and private sector from schools and shops to community centres and parks. "But this isn't all we're doing. Obesity is thought to be the cause of nearly half the cases of Type 2 diabetes in Scotland - almost 100,000 people." The eight pilot Healthy Weight Communities have been inspired by two French projects, EPODE (Preventing Childhood Obesity Together) and its predecessor Villes Santés, which showed participating towns reversing obesity trends. Childhood obesity and maternal weight gain were cut over a number of years while "control" towns saw both rise.

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