A councillor who shed over eight stone in a high profile weight loss challenge will put his experience of battling fitness problems to good use as the City of Wolverhampton Council’s new Public Health champion.
Councillor Paul Sweet, who was appointed Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing last week, fought a personal battle against the bulge as part of Wolverhampton’s Call to Action to tackle obesity in the city – dropping from 22st 9lbs to 14st 8lbs in just over a year, after previously tipping the scales at 29st 4lbs.
And now he wants to help others to improve their health and wellbeing. He said: “I’m very excited to be taking on this role, and very much look forward to championing public health in our city and the positive impact it can make to the lives of families.
“Like other big towns and cities, Wolverhampton faces many challenges around the health of its residents.
“We have problems with high levels of smoking and alcohol and substance misuse, poor mental health and wellbeing and a lack of physical activity, all of which is adding to the huge challenge around obesity in our city.
“The statistics are frightening, with latest data suggesting nearly 70% of adults in Wolverhampton are either overweight or obese. Equally worrying is that over a quarter of four to five-year-olds are overweight or obese, rising to around 40% of 10-11-year-olds.
“However, the council and its partners are well placed to support and influence families into making more positive choices in their daily lives, and to access the proper support to help them face up and tackle their own situation, like I was able to.
“In September 2014, I was asked to support Director of Public Health Ros Jervis’ Call to Action to tackle obesity in our city by taking part in a weight loss challenge. At the time I was 22st 9lbs and now I am more than eight stone lighter and have a quality of life I never thought I would achieve, even being able to run the Wolverhampton Half Marathon last year.
“Family members have also made positive changes to their food and exercise and, without a doubt, the support, advice and encouragement I have had over the last two years made all the difference and gave me the knowledge and tools to make better choices around food and exercise.
“I have also come across so many people who have followed my journey and who have themselves made positive changes to their lives – and I very much look forward to helping other families achieve similar positive outcomes, not just by tackling obesity but also addressing other health challenges and inequalities in our city.”
He added: “If people do want to make lifestyle changes, small or large, the good news is that there is plenty of support available locally to help them do just that, not least from Wolverhampton’s Healthy Lifestyles team, who offer free help and support to anyone who wants to increase their physical activity levels, eat more healthily, drink less alcohol, stop smoking and reach a healthy weight.”
For more information about the help available from the Healthy Lifestyles Team, please call 0800 073 4242 or 01902 444246 or visit http://www.royalwolverhampton.nhs.uk/your-health/