WIGAN has always carried a sorry tag when it comes to obesity.
And after the excesses of Christmas, could the New Year be the time to take that step to a slimline you? If it is there is someone who can help.
Levels of obesity in Wigan are above the national average meaning that heart disease and diabetes rates are also very high.
A number of organisations have set out to tackle this issues and the last two years have seen a gradual improvement.
Latest figures show that although Wigan’s obesity rate is way above the national average, it is in fact on its way down.
NHS scheme Lose Weight Feel Great is a free service to help people across Wigan become healthier by reducing their weight.
Jane Pilkington, Assistant Director of Health Improvement at NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan, said: “It’s really promising to see the figures going down. The trend has been up for a few decades now so it’s great to see some positive signs.
“That said, Wigan still has problems that need addressing. With high obesity rates come problems with diabetes and heart disease.
“It isn’t just those classed as ‘obese’ that we need to address though; around two thirds of the population are classed as overweight and that is a problem.”
This year, Lose Weight Feel Great have introduced a number of initiatives they believe have helped combat the issue and in 2012, they hope to extend that further.
As well as improving dietry habits, the scheme aims to get more people active. Reports suggest that this is an issue that hasn’t improved in recent years.
The trend nationally is that more people are physically active than they were two years ago, whereas in Wigan that statistic has very much plateaued.
Jane added: “One thing we are trying to utilise, with the help of Wigan Leisure Culture Trust is the amount of green land we have in the town. We work together to introduce programmes that see people improve their fitness by walking, cycling and eventually running.
“It’s all about making little changes though and ensuring that nothing done is too drastic.
“Next year we are introducing schemes where we are going into local sports stadia to get them onboard and promote combining healthy eating and exercise as well as workplaces.”
While getting women into classes and schemes has proven to be a success, men are still dwindling.
Slimming World say they have a special way of getting to men if they don’t come to their classes.
Wigan’s contract manager Sue Gibson said: “Year on year we are seeing a growing membership rate. However, we still aren’t attracting that many men to come down. One way of getting those is by their wives improving their lifestyles and in turn buying healthier food for their home.”