Why is it an issue?A healthy diet may help to prevent certain chronic (long-term) diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It may also help to reduce your risk of developing some cancers and help you to keep a healthy weight.
What’s the local picture and how do we compare?
How do we compare?
What do things look like locally?
- Local needs assessment shows low levels of healthy eating in Wakefield, with many people having poor knowledge of healthy food and few cooking skills (Health Weight Strategy, 2010)
- Modelled estimates suggest that only 21.2% of adults in Wakefield meet government recommendations on healthy eating, compared to 28.7% regionally and 26.3% nationally (Wakefield Health Profile 2011, modelled estimate using Health Survey for England 2006-2008 revised).
- Yet almost two thirds of residents say that they are consuming at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Women are significantly more likely to do so than men. Those who are in the younger 16-34 age range are very slightly less likely to have five a day (Lifestyle Survey – Obesity & Diet Analysis, 2009).
- The majority consider their current diet to be very or fairly healthy. Notwithstanding this, there is a strong interest from many (67.5% for men, 62.5% for women) in eating a healthier diet. Interest in having a healthier diet is extremely strong among young women aged 16-24. Generally the interest in achieving a healthier diet decreases with age (Lifestyle Survey – Obesity & Diet Analysis, 2009).
- Those in lower income groups, where obesity is higher and where fruit and vegetables consumption is lower, do claim to have a stronger interest in achieving a healthier diet than higher income groups (Lifestyle Survey – Obesity & Diet Analysis, 2009).
- There is a definite correlation between deprivation and breastfeeding initiation and the gap between the most and least deprived quintile is around 30% (HI Gap Analysis, 2010
- The Wakefield City Centre priority neighbourhood has an unusually high initiation rate, around 70% each year (HI Gap Analysis, 2010).
- In the longer term infants who are not breastfed tend to have higher blood pressure and total cholesterol levels in adulthood and are at greater risk of type 2 diabetes (CJSNA, 2010)
- According to the recent TellUs survey, pupils in Wakefield are less likely to eat the recommended ‘5 a day’ number of portions of fruit and vegetables than the national average. A higher proportion of pupils eat less than three portions per day in Wakefield. More worryingly, up to one in ten pupils may eat no portions of fruit and vegetables per day, above the national average of one in twelve (CJSNA, 2010).
- Take up of the new style healthy school meals is higher in Wakefield than the regional or national averages, but similar to the average of the statistical neighbours. Interestingly, Wakefield has a similar take up of school meals in both secondary and primary, which is different from the statistical neighbour, regional and national pictures, where take up in secondary schools is usually significantly lower (CJSNA, 2010).
- The Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire of Children & Young People in Wakefield, undertaken in February and March 2009 found that between 6% and 30% of females and between 1% and 17% of males in Year 10 did not have any lunch. Both of the lowest results occurred in the same school. In general, a higher proportion of females than males missed lunch (CJSNA, 2010).
- The survey also found that between 11% and 29% of Year 10 females did not have any breakfast. Between 4% and 22% of males did not have any breakfast. The results for highest and lowest uptake of breakfast for males and females occurred in the same schools. Breakfast clubs are available in all of the secondary schools within Wakefield District (CJSNA, 2010).
What’s the trend and what can we predict?
- National improvement in 5-a-day consumption is reported.
- At present, we struggle to accurately measure and monitor any form of dietary habit. We have snapshots but nothing that can glean the impact of interventions and promotion at a district level.
- There has been a slight improvement in the breastfeeding initiation rate across the priority neighbourhoods during over a 3 year period from 39% to 45% (HI Gap Analysis, 2010).
What are we doing and what can be done differently?
What we’re doing
- Commissioning Community Food & Health Team to deliver a variety of interventions to address to improve healthy eating, including regular cooking skills programmes.
- Implementation of the eatwell award, working with local food outlets to encourage them to produce healthier food, with more veg and less fats and salts. Those meeting the criteria receive the eatwell award, which they can promote to their customers.
- Implementation of the Healthy Business Award, giving recognition to workplaces who take positive steps to improve employee health and wellbeing, including promoting healthy eating.
- Healthy Eating at Work policies developed for NHS Wakefield District and Wakefield Council.
- The Three Areas Project involving approximately with the 30 projects for all ages involved, all brought together under the Three Areas Project. By working closely together – with key aim to encourage people to move more, eat well and live longer through innovative schemes based on various themes like: increasing activity, growing and eating healthy food and developing strong communities.
- Featherstone Takeaway project; is a pilot project, delivered by West Yorkshire Trading Standards, aiming to increase the healthier options available at takeaways. Featherstone is one of our areas of high deprivation with higher levels of obesity and the project is in response to community concerns about the number of takeaways in Featherstone. It visits takeaways and samples various menu items incognito which are analysed for nutritional content. The team return with findings and provide traders with the results and offer advice on how they can modify their cooking practices/ingredients to make the meals healthier. If the traders take part they are then revisited and further testing takes place. Participating traders get posters/certificates to display on their premises and in community to promote their involvement and highlighting what improvements they have made.
- Growing 4 the Future: This is a social enterprise partnership between Groundwork Wakefield, Wakefield District NHS and Wakefield Council. The aim of G4F is to generate economic, social and environmental benefits based on the production of local plants and healthy food. The project promotes healthy lifestyles and provides learning, training and employment opportunities
- Two community cafes are supported, one in Lupset, the other Airedale. These cafes aim to create an awareness of healthy eating and to create more social interaction within their communities. The particular focus of both the cafes is to promote healthy family food for families with children as a preventative measure against childhood obesity, including promoting breastfeeding and healthy weaning. Each of the cafés also works with their local community providing food for various groups i.e. the nursery meals, in the children’s centre, older people’s groups, etc. The cafes also offer volunteering and training and learning opportunities.
What can be done differently?
- Develop a district wide Food & Nutrition Strategy and action plan.
- Improve ability to address myths and claims relating to nutrition which are controversial.
- Improving knowledge and support towards workplace health and healthy eating.
- Raise public awareness of the eatwell award to support healthy choices when eating out.
- Influence the development and support more community cafes.