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More than one in two adults in Jersey are overweight or obese

Public Health Jersey has published its report on the island's latest recorded levels of obesity, physical activities and diet.

The amount of islanders who are recorded as obese or overweight has increased by 4% in 2023, from 50% the year prior.

Head of Health Improvement, Martin Knight, says it is worrying:

"Dietary risk factors are something that is increasing and starting to overtake the typical risk factors for disease.

At the moment tobacco is still the greatest cause of preventable disease and death in Jersey but it's fast being caught up and soon to be overtaken by dietary risk factors at this point."

In terms of children, the report found that 24% of children in reception classes are overweight and obese, which rises to 32% in Year 6.

There is also a significant difference between children who live in rural settings and those living in more urban environments, as well as the types of schools they attend.

Children who live in the rural parishes are less likely to be overweight, similarly to children who attend fee-paying schools.

Public Health also discovered that more than two-thirds of islanders do not eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and one in twenty people had not eaten any since the day before when recording their results.

Knight suggests that improving diet could lead to a happier life on a day-to-day basis.

"The most important thing that has an impact on weight is what we eat, so the amount of calories that we consume.

"We're also really interested in broader dietary risk factors as well, so trying to reduce our diets in terms of reducing the level of fats, sugar and salt across a whole and improving and increasing the number of fruits and vegetables we eat."

Young adults are the least likely to eat fruit and vegetables compared to the older generations, as well as those who report very poor health.

The report also found that out of the average weekly shop of £101 per household, approximately £16 was allocated to fresh fruits and veg.

Similarly in fitness, 45% of the population do not meet the recommended levels of physical activity a week.

It is suggested that adults in Jersey need around 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-aerobic activity a week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises.

The department believes that improving fitness and diet can have a big influence on the future of health in Jersey.

The Head of Health Improvement says that physical activity is really important.

"Being active on a day-to-day basis to get to work or to get to school really, really can help.

"Ensuring we keep our levels of physical activity high through regular day-to-day activities won't necessarily going to help us lose weight, but once we're able to reduce the consumption of energy (high-calorie foods), having that high energy and keeping physically active is really really valuable in helping us to maintain a healthy weight."

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