Thursday, 5 November 2009

Cardiff's healthy city initiative will tackle obesity

Cardiff has become the first Welsh city to be given World Health Organization (WHO) Healthy Cities status joining only seven other cities in the United Kingdom .

Achievement of the award is being seen as an important step
in ensuring Cardiff continues to develop as one of the best places to live in the country and provides a real opportunity for a range of agencies working across the city to improve the health and well being of local people.

The Council, with NHS and partners recognised that good
health is our greatest asset and together they identified the Healthy Cities approach as the way forward to create a healthier Cardiff.

Applying for 'Healthy City' status was
supported by Cardiff's Proud Capital Vision Forum, with the Cardiff Health Alliance acting as the lead partnership. The application involved a range of partners working together to develop a portfolio for submission, outlining existing and new projects being run across Cardiff, designed to improve everyone's health and tackle the health inequalities experienced by some members of the community. However, this is not something the Council and Health Service can do alone.

Everybody and every organisation need to be involved
and share the responsibility for good health and maintaining a healthy lifestyle In achieving designation as a Healthy City and becoming part of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, Cardiff Council has pledged that health will be a key part of the Council's agenda.

Cardiff Council Executive Member for Health, Social Care and Well Being, Councillor John Dixon, said: "Joining the Healthy Cities Network isn't recognition that everyone in Cardiff is now healthy - it's a promise that physical, mental and emotional health is a priority for all of us. It brings together all of the strands of work of the Council - economic, environment, social and education - and integrates them with the work of the Health Service, the Police, the voluntary and private sectors.

"We plan to start the Healthy City programme by addressing the
issue of obesity through the Healthy City. Obesity is potentially the next big killer, which can leave people with chronic health problems like diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, as well as increasing risks from heart disease and strokes. Our answer can't be to just treat people through the NHS and send them home again, but rather to design our city, educate people and provide opportunities that stop people developing these problems in the first place.

"That means that whatever services we plan and deliver both
individually, and together, we have to have an eye on what the effect will be on improving the health, and reducing health inequalities in the city."

"I am delighted that
Cardiff is the first city in Wales to achieve WHO Healthy Cities status. This gives us an opportunity to share what we learn with other Welsh Councils; the achievement will send out positive messages, and will enable us to share our ideas and experiences across Wales and Europe." David Francis, Chair of the new Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said.

"The UHB would be taking an active role in
supporting the work that will now get underway as part of the Healthy City programme. The University Health Board has put the health and well being agenda at the heart of the business. Our focus isn't just on providing treatment and care when people fall ill. We need to work with partners to improve everyone's health, encouraging people to adopt healthy lifestyles and prevent them becoming ill.

"Achieving Healthy City status is testament to the dedication
and hard work of a committed group of people who are genuinely striving towards improving the health and well being of everyone in Cardiff. This recognition is no mean feat and now provides us with an exciting platform from which to move forward, building on our successes to-date."

Dr Stephen Monaghan, Local Public Health Director for
Cardiff, NPHS, commented, "Cardiff is a tale of 'two cities', being home to some of the least and most deprived wards in Wales. We know that it can be more difficult for communities and individuals who experience economic and social disadvantage to make healthy lifestyle choices and we hope that the Healthy Cities approach will provide us with a really exciting opportunity to work together to create healthier places for the people of Cardiff to live, work and learn."

Dr. Tony Jewell, Chief Medical Officer Welsh Assembly Government said, "I am delighted by the news and feel that local authorities across Wales will be keen to learn best practice from this initiative. It is the kind of development which supports our aspirations for Our Healthy Future" strategic framework and Health Challenge Wales."

The Healthy Cities status will be officially launched in
January; the event will bring together key organisations to develop a Healthy Cities plan for the city.


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