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Inquests are seeing more cases linked to obesity

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THERE has been a rise in the number of inquests where deaths have been linked to obesity, a police officer has said.

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Following two such inquests in two weeks, PC Glenn Cleave, assistant States police coroner’s officer, said there had been a noticeable rise in cases coming before inquests where the person’s death has been linked to their weight.

He told an inquest this week: ‘It is something we are seeing more of with obesity being a contributing factor in deaths.’

The latest figures available from the States show that nearly half of Jersey’s adults are overweight (32%) or obese (15%), while 20% of four- to five-year-olds are overweight, increasing to 32% in ten- to 11-year-olds.

There is a difference in the proportion of obese ten- to 11-year-olds residing in rural parishes (10%) compared to 20% in urban or semi-urban areas.

In a statement a States spokesman said: ‘Diet-related disease and obesity have become leading causes of preventable death globally and Jersey has not escaped this trend.

‘In the past few decades, shifting dietary patterns have resulted in many people consuming diets that are high in refined sugar and fat, and low in fruit and vegetables.

‘Those who are overweight or obese as a result are at increased risk of illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, which are are now responsible for 70% of all deaths in Europe. In Jersey, cancer is the most common cause of death, followed by cardiovascular disease. Together, these conditions account for more than 60% of all death locally.’

The spokesman added: ‘Reducing the proportion of Islanders who are overweight and obese would help reduce healthcare costs and support improvements in areas such as healthy life expectancy, financial independence, economic participation and productivity.’

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Further figures revealed around half of the Island’s population has been overweight or obese for the past decade.

Online, the States has published solutions on how the Island can improve its health and reduce obesity rates.

The online information states: ‘The new States of Jersey Food and Nutrition Strategy reflects these approaches, and focuses on early intervention and prevention.

‘Jersey Sport are developing a new Inspiring An Active Jersey strategy, which will focus not just on sport but increasing the Islandwide levels of physical activity.

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‘There has been an increase in the number of cooking skills courses available for children and families offered by community or charitable organisations, such as Caring Cooks.

‘Jersey’s schools have a strong history of supporting learning on the importance of a healthy diet and related healthier behaviours through both Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) and science curriculums.

‘Ultimately, it is up to individuals to make healthy lifestyle and food choices, which in turn have a positive impact on their weight.’

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