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Explaining Medway’s obesity problem

Medway’s Obesity problem

In Medway 69.2% of adults are overweight which is considerably higher than the national average –  A 2024 Teeside University study into ‘ways to improve uptake of tier 2 weight programmes’ in Medway, found.

The study evaluated appropriate steps Medway could take to improve the issue, such as through “the recruitment of local weight management champions, better coordination of services, appropriate communication strategies, and further research are essential ingredients that can be used to improve access to and uptake of weight management programmes.”

Last month a report also stated that Kent residents are living shorter, unhealthier lives, especially in coastal communities. The report by Kent County Council, Medway Council and The NHS says that Medway, Swale and Thanet are areas of the County where life-expectancy is decreasing most.

What are Medway doing to help tackle obesity? 

Vicki Broome, from Healthy weight alliance said: “To address obesity we have developed sub-groups to focus on key areas of need.” Areas related to obesity of focus in the area such as: “the Medway infant feeding strategy which makes sure parents are supported with all the tools they need to give their babies the healthiest start in life.”

Ms Broome also points out the link between poverty and obesity: “The Medway Food partnership aims to address issues such as food poverty, food education and oral health and to break down the barriers to exercise and teach people the importance of it for everyone living, working and studying in Medway.”

Tri for you is a service provided by Medway Council, that offers family weight management services, running face-to-face courses which started in January. Tri for you, help people in Medway assisting families in making simple changes such as eating more healthily, being more active and feeling more motivated.

The link between poverty and obesity. 

Medway also has a child poverty problem. Data released by End Child Poverty in July 2023, shows that 30.6% of children in Medway live in poverty which is far greater than the average of 25% across the south-east.

Children in deprived areas of Medway are more than twice as likely to be obese than those living in more affluent areas.

Obese children are also more likely to remain so in adulthood, with around of 55% of obese children staying overweight teens and roughly 80% of obese teens remaining so in adulthood. 

Free swimming in the area scrapped

Last month, Medway Council said it needed to cancel free swimming sessions for under-16s, so they could save money and ‘avoid effective bankruptcy’. The Medway Liberal democrats were vocal on keeping the free swimming, and are continuing to petition to keep it available.

Image Credit: Unsplashed, Brian Matangelo.

They said it would be a “an extremely shortsighted action that is also a threat to our children’s health.”

They shared some data that supports Medway has a problem with childhood obesity, with NHS figures in November 2023 shows that Medway has the highest obesity rate in Kent and 23.1% of children aged 10-11 are classed as obese.

Stuart Bourne, Parliamentary candidate for Gillingham & Rainham commented on the idea of scrapping free swimming: “The Labour Council are hurting the poorest in Medway who are desperately trying to keep their kids fit and healthy.”

Now free swimming has been scrapped in the area, it will increase the price by 78%, previously it would cost a family of two adults and two children £14.30, it will now cost roughly £25.50.

Map Mystery

MapMystery has shared a TikTok on the ‘fattest places in the UK’ , it shares that Medway took fourth place on the list…


Number 1 shocked me 🤯 #geography #geopolitics #factsyoudidntknow #unitedkingdom #uk #cities #london #hull

♬ original sound – MapMystery