Angela highlights link between obesity and arthritis but offers optimistic message
Angela has called for a greater focus on the links between osteoarthritis and obesity, warning that unless we started acknowledging the role that obesity played in related conditions then the NHS would break under the strain.
Angela recently attended a Parliamentary event hosted by Arthritis Care in which the link between osteoarthritis and obesity was explored, and the alarming scale of the problem was starkly presented to assembled MPs, Peers and experts.
Speaking at the event, Professor Philip Conaghan, Professor of Musculoskeletal Medicine at the University of Leeds and Medical Adviser to Arthritis Care, warned that obesity is a risk factor both in getting osteoarthritis and compounding the problem for osteoarthritis sufferers.
Commenting Angela said
It was illuminating to hear about Professor Conaghan’s work in Leeds and with Arthritis Care. An incredible 8.5m in the UK suffer from osteoarthritis – with around 10,000 in the Sheffield area alone - and many of them suffer more than they have to because their weight and joint pain makes it difficult to exercise. Yet this is a vicious cycle, as exercise can actually help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis, partly by keeping people trim. ”
“Each individual is of course responsible for their own weight but the Government needs to invest in measures such as better weight management programmes. Spending money today can save much, much more money tomorrow and I will be working with the local Clinical Commissioning Group and public health teams to highlight the importance of ensuring that people with osteoarthritis have access to diet and exercise facilities to enable weight loss to take place and be maintained in the long term.”
Judi Rhys, Chief Executive of Arthritis Care, said: "This is an extremely tough scenario to tackle as there's no point just telling people to lose weight - it's a bit like telling people to give up smoking. It's a very difficult thing to do and a big change in behaviour and people need help and support with that kind of challenge.
"Arthritis Care can help people with arthritis take the first step through our Helplines, courses and the free information we provide but we recognise that a lot more work is needed in this area and we will look to set up alliances with organisations that help with weight loss." ENDS
Notes to editors:
The obesity rate for Sheffield area is 23.70% – the most recent average for the UK is 24.8%, which makes Sheffield thinner on average than the rest of the UK.
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Angela congratulates local winner at BTEC awards
Penistone & Stocksbridge MP, Angela Smith recently had the pleasure in congratulating Stocksbridge and Norton College student, Jasmine Welsh on winning the outstanding BTEC Apprentice of the Year (16-18 years) at the National BTEC Awards
Jasmine was nominated by her employer Daniel Mortimer and she has a Distinction-level BTEC National Diploma in Fine Art & Photography and is currently studying for a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media at the College whilst working at Norton Creative.
She is highly skilled in graphic design, video production and photography and has a strong business acumen. Alongside her apprenticeship, she runs a freelance photography business, sells her artwork commercially and has won several competitions in her field.
The judges described Jasmine as a committed, entrepreneurial and innovative apprentice who stands out as a fine ambassador for her college and for apprenticeships as a committed learner who is also thriving in the workplace.
Commenting on the award Angela, said;
“I have always been a keen supporter of apprenticeships, they are great way to learn new skills and to become experts in a field. Jasmine has shown in her efforts just what can be achieved if young people work hard, study hard and have the confidence to go out into the world and compete at the highest level.
She is an inspiration to both me and all those other young people just starting out on their careers on just what can be achieved. Well done Jasmine.”
Defra Shadow Minister Visits Dogs Trust Leeds
Angela recently visited the Leeds Dogs Trust rehoming centre, where she was greeted on the day by a large number of VIPs (Very Important Pooches) The Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare made many new furry friends at the centre, including a litter of four-week-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies and their proud mum,
Candy. Angela also discussed key dog welfare issues with front line staff at the rehoming centre, including the tenth anniversary of the charity’s Freedom Project. This project is an innovative pet fostering scheme providing vital help for people in Yorkshire, Greater London, and Hertfordshire fleeing domestic violence. Since refuges are largely unable to accommodate pets, many people remain in violent domestic situations simply for fear of what might happen to their pet if they were to flee without it. The scheme works by temporarily placing the pet at risk with a volunteer foster carer who will care for them in their own home until they can be safely reunited with their owner. The project has recently fostered its 1,200th pet.
Speaking following the visit, Angela said:
“I hugely enjoyed my visit to Dogs Trust Leeds. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to witness first-hand the work the staff at the centre do and meet some of the dogs being cared for. I was also very interested to hear more about the work that the wider charity engages in across my constituency and beyond, in particular the Freedom Project.
Domestic violence is a huge, under-reported issue in the UK, with thousands of victims suffering each year. There is not a single community that escapes this dreadful crime, my constituency included. For 10 years Dogs Trust Freedom Project has been helping families flee domestic violence by offering a safe haven for their pets. While legislation obviously has its part to play in such a serious issue, outreach work such as this in local communities is vital”.
The latest Freedom project statistics reveal that 52%* of the domestic violence clients using the service reported that their pets were also threatened or abused by a violent partner*. Dogs Trust is seeing more and more research and clinical evidence of inter-relationships, commonly referred to as ‘links’, between the abuse of children, vulnerable adults and animals. As part of the Links Group, Dogs Trust is working to raise awareness amongst all professionals in the hope that agencies will work together to help prevent related cases from going undetected. Until very recently this issue was under-reported in the UK but the charity hopes that moving forward the ‘links’ can be incorporated more fully into overall working practice.
Matt Howden, Dogs Trust Leeds Assistant Manager, adds:
“We were delighted to welcome Angela to Dogs Trust Leeds, where we introduced her to our wonderful canine residents – all looking for a home – and showed her the valuable work that we do for dogs and communities across Yorkshire and beyond.
We appreciated the opportunity to discuss our outreach work with Angela, and are very pleased that she is supporting our Freedom Project. This project plays an undeniable role in protecting the pets of people fleeing domestic violence across Yorkshire, and we are proud to be marking its tenth anniversary this month”.
If you are interested in rehoming a dog, please call Dogs Trust Leeds directly on 0113 281 4920, or drop into the centre at Woodlands Farm, York Road, Leeds LS15 4NL.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for nearly 17,000 dogs each year through its network of 19 Rehoming Centres across the UK and one in Dublin. For further details on the charity’s work please visit http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/ href="http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/">www.dogstrust.org.uk
*52% of the 154 responding clients on the Freedom Project said that their pets had been abused or threatened with abuse
Dogs Trust Freedom Project is an innovative pet fostering scheme providing vital help for people in Greater London, Yorkshire & Hertfordshire fleeing domestic violence (DV) and seeking refuge in temporary accommodation that can’t accept pets. Many people remain in a violent domestic situation simply for fear of what might happen to their pets if they flee without them.
The scheme works by temporarily placing the dog at risk with a volunteer foster carer who will care for that dog in their own home until they can be safely reunited with their owner:
During the foster placement the Freedom Project will cover the cost of pet food and veterinary treatment.
Total anonymity is assured, dogs will not be fostered in the area where the owner is from and the carer who fosters the dog will not know who the owner is or where they live.
Freedom Project staff provide help and support and each placement is monitored on a regular basis.
Owners receive updates on how their pet is doing whilst in foster care, reassuring them that they are being cared for until they are in a position to have them back.
In Greater London & Hertfordshire the project also accepts cats, working alongside Cats Protection, who will arrange fostering.
Freedom Project statistics
Since the project started in 2004 we have helped 1,200 pets find temporary homes whilst their families fled domestic violence. We have now successfully reunited 1,140 pets with their families.
Since the start of the project, Freedom has fostered 865 dogs and 345 cats (to 1 April 2014)
At any one time we have between 50 and 65 pets being actively fostered.
We have a total of approximately 80 registered volunteer foster carers who look after our dogs as part of their family.
Since the start of the project, staff have received a total of 3,742 referrals for fostering.
Domestic violence statistics (source, Refuge 2013)
1 woman in 4 (25%) is physically abused by a partner during her life-time (Council of Europe, 2002)
2 women are killed each week by a current or former partner (Homicide Statistics, 1998 - 2012)
On average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police (Jaffe, 1982)
In family households where domestic violence occurs, in 90% of incidents, children were in the same or the next room (Hughes, 1992)
In over 50% of known domestic violence cases, children were also directly abused (NSPCC, 1997; Farmer & Owen, 1995)
Every minute police in the UK receive a domestic assistance call (Stanko, 2000; Home Office, 2002)
Domestic violence accounts for 16-25% of all violent crime (Home Office, 2005)
Domestic violence has the highest rate of repeat victimisation of any crime (Home Office, 2002)
One in seven children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood (Radford et al, 2011)
Domestic violence costs the taxpayer £16 billion each year (Walby, 2009)
Links Group www.thelinksgroup.org.uk
Sally Wright/Rebecca Eighteen
Dogs Trust Press Office
020 7812 5273 / 020 7833 7692