Active Prospects to lead new initiative to tackle obesity

Active Prospects has been awarded funding by Surrey County Council to lead a healthcare programme to tackle obesity among people with learning disabilities.

The funding will enable us to lead a Whole Systems Approach to Obesity (OWSA). This approach acknowledges that obesity is a complex issue and there is no single solution. By taking a ‘whole systems approach’ we aim to make tackling obesity everyone’s business. This will be achieved in a way that is tailored to the needs of people in Surrey with learning disabilities, autism, and/or mental health needs.

Evidence from Public Health England shows that obesity is higher in people with a learning disability, with over 37% of individuals severely overweight. Obesity rates have increased over the past year because of the pandemic and subsequent restrictions on exercise and social activities.

What are we proposing?

The funding will enable us to tackle some of the causes of obesity. This includes a lack of physical activity, psychological and dietary factors. We will do this by:

  • Expanding our current allotment project by focusing on healthy eating, being active, learning new skills and tackling loneliness.
  • Running peer-led workshops for people with learning disabilities and autism, covering issues such as healthy eating and BMI.
  • Launching a Surrey-wide app, developed in partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability which will promote healthy living and exercise opportunities for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.
  • Production of resources for people with learning disabilities or autism, social care and health professionals, families and carers. These would be available in a range of accessible formats. These resources will provide practical advice on issues such as healthy eating and taking exercise.

The project will be delivered in partnership with the Pro-Active Community, who are a user-led group of people with learning disabilities or autism. Set up by Active Prospects in 2016, they became an independent charity last year. They give its members a voice and aims to achieve positive change for people with learning disabilities or autism.

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