Anti-obesity centre marks anniversary

A CENTRE to tackle obesity in Rotherham – where a third of children and 60 per cent of adults are classed as overweight or obese – has now marked its first anniversary.

Over the last 12 months more than 1,800 people have used the Rotherham Institute for Obesity (RIO). However, NHS Rotherham was unable to provide figures on how many of those had been successful in losing weight, merely saying that the centre has been "extremely successful."

RIO is open to all adults and children registered with a Rotherham GP and includes a gym, cooking classes and a resource centre. Those who have been referred to the institute by doctors can seek free help from a range of professionals including obesity specialist nurses, dietitians, an exercise therapist and a GP with a specialist interest in obesity.

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Each patient is then given an individual plan designed "to maximize their chances of weight loss."

Dr Matthew Capehorn, clinical manager at RIO, said: "Our first year has been extremely successful. We have helped a significant number of people to lose weight and to maintain their weight loss.

"Obesity is a growing problem amongst all ages of the population, with around two thirds of all adults and nearly one third of children overweight or obese. In Rotherham we are leading the way in tackling the issue.

"However, we recognise that there is no quick fix and that it may take some years before the trends can be reversed, but with good advice, intervention and treatment we hope to raise awareness and understanding of the health dangers associated with obesity and engage the public with our weight-management strategy."

The institute, which is part of Clifton Lane Medical Centre, was opened on November 6 last year by Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum. It is funded through a 3.5m pot invested by NHS Rotherham to tackle obesity in the town over three years.

Meanwhile, a conference is set to be held in Sheffield this week to mark the success of the city's Let's Change4Life programme. In November 2008, NHS Sheffield and Sheffield Council were awarded nearly 5m from the Department of Health with the aim of stopping the rise in childhood obesity.

On Thursday, November 11 more than 200 healthcare and local government staff will come together at the Showroom cinema to discuss the achievements of the programme.

Carol Weir, Sheffield Let's Change4Life programme director, said: "It's about offering healthier alternatives, schools encouraging pupils to grow and cook, people supporting their neighbours to be more active and, most importantly, the whole of Sheffield being more aware of the problems that obesity can cause."