Cessnock will host a community forum next Wednesday night which aims to tackle the area’s shocking health figures.
The Cessnock local government area had one of the highest rates of overweight and obese people in NSW, with one in three adults classified as obese.
Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network has organised the community forum to gather ideas and build a plan to achieve long-term health improvement.
The forum is part of the the network’s Healthy Weight Initiative, which targets overweight and obese hotspots in the region.
Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network chief executive officer Richard Nankervis said obesity and maintaining a healthy weight were fast becoming Australia’s biggest health challenges.
Overweight and obesity rates are on the rise across the country, with almost two thirds of Australians classified as either overweight or obese.
“We have already consulted with the clinical community of Cessnock to set the platform for a model-of-care that will help people to reach a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease,” Mr Nankervis said.
“But that is only part of the puzzle as having the whole community involved is the best way to help people achieve and sustain a healthy weight, and reduce their disease risk.”
The 2015 NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey showed that children from low and middle socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely to be overweight or obese than those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds.
The primary health network’s latest health snapshot showed that Cessnock was significantly more disadvantaged than the state and national average.
Cessnock’s index of disadvantage score was 936, compared to the state average of 996 and the national average of 1000.
“We want to consult across the entire community in the region to gather ideas and hear experiences – from schools, non-government organisations, community groups to local council”, Mr Nankervis said.
The Healthy Weight Initiative Cessnock community forum will be held on Wednesday, March 29, from 6.30pm at Cessnock Leagues Club.
People can register to attend the community forum online at peoplebank.hneccphn.com.au/healthy-weight-initiative.
If people are not able to attend the meeting, they can still contribute their ideas online at peoplebank.hneccphn.com.au.
For further information about the health initiative, contact Mel Cromarty on 4088 5955.