Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Weighty Problems

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Weighty Problems

Article excerpt

Byline: By Audrey Forbes

One pint in the pub after work leads to another.

And on your way home you nip into the take-away for your tea to save cooking.

You munch in front of the television and, stuffed with curry, stay put for the evening.

It's this lifestyle that's killing thousands of people who suffer strokes, coronary heart disease and cancer as a result.

To change people's attitudes will take years and an expert obesity research team at the University of Teesside believes the key lies in educating the next generation.

Dr Beckie Lang said: "We're more keen to start with the next generation and prevent it happening rather than tackling it when it's already happening.

"Often what the children learn will translate back into the home.

"But this isn't a simple thing to do."

The team, led by Professor Carolyn Summerbell, has a number of projects under way in the community aimed at educating people on how to be healthy.

Primary schools are being brought on board to enable team members to gather data on children's obesity.

"Our projects look at ways we can encourage healthy eating and activity within the constraints of personal and social factors."

Dr Lang is thoroughly impressed with the amount of work through Primary Care Trusts, Local Authorities and other organisations through out the region.

"Teesside is lucky it has such a proactive community that is striving to make these lifestyle changes feasible for people."

A new role brought in by Middlesbrough PCT in partnership with Middlesbrough Council is the life-style co-ordinator.

Will Smith works with the clinically obese who are turning to surgery to get slim.

"They are at the extreme end of the scale," said Mr Smith. "They have been to see dieticians and tried to lose weight or used prescription drugs but nothing has worked. …

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