Borderers urged to take control of own health

Health chiefs say locals need to ‘play their part’ as report sets out public health challenges

Friday 10th May 2019

Health bosses in the Scottish Borders are encouraging residents to play their part and take responsibility over their own health as a new report outlines the public health challenges the region faces.

This includes healthy eating with a balanced diet, keep active and exercising, stopping smoking and keeping an eye on alcohol consumption.

They’re also encouraging residents to make sure they’re up to date with vaccinations and screening programmes.

Dr Tim Patterson, head of public health at NHS Borders, said: “The healthier we all are, the more we can reduce unnecessary pressure on our health and social care systems, so that resources can be more wisely used to care for those who really need it.”

The report, which was produced jointly by NHS Borders and Scottish Borders council, outlines the key challenges facing the region.

As a rural area, there’s a higher proportion of older people and the proportion of over 75s is expected to increase by 34% by 2026, compared to 27% for Scotland as a whole.

Meanwhile, one in five children in the Scottish Borders live in poverty.

To tackle this health chiefs are urging expectant mothers to access maternity services early on but are warning that the proportion of obese mothers has increased in recent years.

But population-wide interventions will be needed to bring about ‘any long-lasting shift in eating patterns and healthy weight’, the report states.

Dr Patterson added: “It’s clear from this report that we have achieved many successes which we must build on. For instance, our efforts to reduce smoking and consumption of harmful levels of alcohol are beginning to bear fruit. New initiatives have also been put in place to promote good mental health in young people.

“However, other key health trends are concerning, particularly the high levels of obesity in adults and the rising number of people with diabetes. We therefore need to redouble our efforts and work together to achieve the six new public health priorities.”