Contact: Aoife Mac Eoin. 087 – 239 1984.
Obesity: Need for greater access to safe places for physical activity
The report that 60 per cent of the population is either overweight or obese demonstrates the need for greater access to daily opportunities for physical activity, the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists said today.
Commenting on the findings of the Safefood Report into The Cost of Overweight and Obesity, the President of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, Jill Long said they were consistent with the experience of Chartered Physiotherapists working in many of the country’s hospitals and health centres. Members of the physiotherapy profession are treating increasing numbers of patients for obesity-related conditions including back and knee pain; falls, breathlessness and poor physical fitness.
“Research presented by our members who specialize in weight management programmes for both adults and children shows that teenage obesity rates alone (i.e. excluding overweight) had more than trebled from 4% of the population in 1990 to 14% in 2007,” said Ms Long.
Increasing physical activity levels and physical fitness is a key component to tackling obesity and reducing the associated health consequences. Environmental barriers however, can hamper individuals trying to increase their activity.
At the recent ISCP Annual Conference, Grace O’Malley, a leading Chartered Physiotherapist in the area of exercise and weight management, described how many families of children who are obese report having limited safe places to play. Ms Long said the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists fully endorses the statement made by Safefood that investment in better infrastructure is needed, and that such developments are essential so that children and adults can walk or cycle safely around our urban and rural communities.
Recent studies (WHO 2011 and the American College of Sports Medicine 2010) have shown that for weight management programmes to be effective in the long-term, physical activity must form part of the overall strategy.
Given the high rates of physical impairments reported by individuals who are obese, it is essential that obesity management be delivered by university-trained professionals, with the capacity to assess and manage patients in an evidence-based manner.
Chartered Physiotherapists provide direct care to patients with obesity and many related conditions including pain, diabetes and cardio-respiratory illnesses as well as practical advice and education needed by patients to achieve lifestyle change and improved health outcomes.
The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists Northern Ireland presented a joint address at a Safefood symposium in Belfast earlier this year as part of the joint working relationship in the area of obesity.
Click here to read more on the obesity sesion at our Annual Conference
For further information please contact:
Aoife Mac Eoin. Tel : 087 - 2391984