Health boost for 'tubbies'

OBESITY is escalating in this country, and as one of the fattest boroughs in London we are among the worst when it comes to diet and exercise. But help is at hand with a new Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust strategy costing an estimated £2.5million

OBESITY is escalating in this country, and as one of the fattest boroughs in London we are among the worst when it comes to diet and exercise.

But help is at hand with a new Barking and Dagenham Primary Care Trust strategy costing an estimated £2.5million a year, writes Karen Moss.

And if it receives backing from the Department of Health this could rise to £10million.

People who are at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes are being targeted with tailor-made treatments.


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GPs and pharmacists will be able to refer patients to exercise schemes, health advisors and personal trainers.

From this autumn anyone can call a health advisor or see a personal trainer who will work with and advise them on getting fit and healthy - free of charge.

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Assistant director of public health, Jim McManus, told the POST: "The problem is that our borough death rate is 36 percent higher than the national average.

"We need to reduce diabetes and heart disease here.

"Around 14 different programmes have been set up to help achieve this.

"They are provided by Health Concern, Age Concern, and the Disabled Association of Barking and Dagenham."

From this month there will be weight management classes, gym membership, and exercise equipment like bicycles available from the PCT.

They will be run by council and volunteer groups like the YMCA, Health Concern, and DABD at 30 locations.

Mr McManus added: "Weight management classes and exercise through personal trainers will help get blood pressure down, and manage diabetes.

"There are 11,000 people at increased risk of heart attacks in the over-40 population here. We want to identify these people and help them."

The programmes were piloted among PCT staff, and fewer sick days were taken because people were healthier.

Jim said: "The project pretty much paid for itself with the amount we saved in sick pay.

"I would like more businesses coming to try these programmes with their workforce.

"Barking and Dagenham has a very strong sense of community, these people's interests should be taken care of.

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