Fat chance

BOSTON adults are more obese than the national average – but their children are the opposite, it has been revealed.

The Health Profile 2011 for Boston, which was discussed at a Boston Borough Council cabinet meeting on Wednesday, said the health of people in the town was mixed compared to the England average, with life expectancy for both men and women lower than the national average.

The report also mentioned that, over the last 10 years, mortality rates for all causes of death had fallen.

Early death rates from cancer, heart disease and strokes had also fallen, but were higher than the England average.

There were 1,266 hospital stays for alcohol-related harm in 2009-10 (below the national average) and 105 hospital stays due to self harm (above the national average).

Teenage pregnancy (under 18) was 50.6 per thousand teenagers in 07-09, which was higher than the national average of 40.2.

According to the report, 26.8 per cent of adults are obese, compared to 24.2 per cent nationally.

Meanwhile, 18.6 per cent of year six children were classed as obese compared to 18.7 per cent across the UK.

The council’s portfolio holder for health Coun Stephen Woodliffe said: “The council is attacking (the obesity) issue with considerable success.”

He noted initiatives such as the re-opening of the training pool, the installation of fitness equipment in Central Park, new play equipment for children in the borough's parks and a healthy eating programme.

“The council's officers are to be commended for their strategic planning in dealing with this serious matter, and for all the work that has been put in by officers to establish a range of schemes to educate youngsters in how to improve their health and live a healthy life,” He added.

“There remains an issue concerning obesity in adults, but most of Boston's youngsters seem to have got the message.”

Fran Taylor, the council’s play and physical activity officer, said it had run play schemes every school holiday to encourage children to be active and introduce them into sport and schemes such as healthy walks.

Working with organisations, she said the council had improved play spaces in Fosdyke, Swineshead, Old Leake, Wellington Road, Boston and Benington.

She said: “All of these play areas have given children and young people challenging equipment to play on thus keeping them very active.”

She also pointed to Fit Kids, a 12-week programme for children aged eight-11 which are, or are in danger of, becoming obese.

The youngsters and their family undertake fitness sessions, learn about food nutrition, healthy cooking and food management.