On the critical list: smoking, obesity and vaccinations
HEALTH chiefs in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot have set out a series of new priorities to help tackle the area's health problems.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board's director of public health, Doctor Sara Hayes, has just released an annual report into the health of people across the region.
She has identified the three areas of stopping smoking, tackling obesity and increasing vaccination rates as the key priorities which need to be addressed to help improve the health of people in the area.
Dr Hayes said: "These issues have been selected as priorities based on their unequal distribution, their adverse impact on our communities' health and wellbeing and NHS services, and because there is evidence of effective interventions.
"Whilst we are strengthening our support in the early years and giving every child the best start, we need to improve the life chances of our adult population across the ABM University Health Board area, with a proportionate focus on the most disadvantaged.
"This can only be done by helping our communities access employment, good quality housing and continuing educational opportunities and by developing environments which support their emotional health, promote physical activity and a healthy diet."
Low vaccination rates in Swansea and the surrounding areas were cited as a reason for the measles outbreak earlier this year.
In April, Gareth Colfer Williams, 25, from Port Tennant, died from a lung condition brought on by contracting the virus.
Following the outbreak Public Health Wales found that two doses of the MMR vaccine protects in around 99 of 100 cases.
And earlier this month the Welsh Health Survey revealed just a third of adults ate five or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
Twenty-three per cent admitted they still smoked.
The survey also revealed that 59 per cent of Welsh adults were overweight, with 23 per cent in the obese category.
Dr Hayes added that there was considerable public support for investment in preventative measures, with encouraging participation in physical activity and reducing healthy eating to help beat obesity.
The annual report will be considered at a board meeting tomorrow.