One in seven new mothers in Telford and Wrekin are smokers when baby is born

One in seven new mothers in Telford are smokers at the time of the birth of their first child, according to the latest figures.

The rate of 14.3 per cent in the Telford and Wrekin borough is more than double the national target level.

England’s Tobacco Control Plan aims to reduce the amount of new mothers who are smokers to six per cent by 2022. But the borough's rate remains far above this - despite having already reduced from 25 per cent.

Louise Mills, the area's health improvement service delivery manager, highlighted the improvement on previous years and said a new county-wide Healthy Pregnancy Support Service will help women quit.

The rate of people overweight in the area is also comfortably above the national average.

Ms Mills' “Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles” report, which also outlines measures to control weight and increase physical activity across the wider population, will be discussed by the borough’s Health and Wellbeing Board on Thursday.

“Smoking in pregnancy is the main modifiable risk factor for a range of negative outcomes for both mother and baby,” the report says.

“Reducing smoking in pregnancy rates in line with national ambitions remains a priority for the Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS).

“Nationally, a SATOD target rate is set as four per cent by 2026 with the aim of achieving a smoke-free start for all children from 2030.

“The current Tobacco Control Plan for England sets a target of reducing 'smoking at time of delivery' (SATOD) rates to less than six per cent by 2022.

“The Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin LMNS has SATOD rates above the national average and more than double the 2022 target with a SATOD rate in 2020-21 for Telford and Wrekin at 14.3 per cent.

“This is, however, a significant improvement when we look back over the years where rates have been close to 25 per cent.

“Through one-off funding from the local authorities, CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) and LMNS, a new Healthy Pregnancy Support Service is being implemented which will provide an enhanced level of support for women to stop smoking during pregnancy.

“This service will also support women to improve their health and wellbeing in general including in relation to healthy weight.

“Through this funding, the service can operate for a year, with substantive NHS funding expected nationally to enable the service to continue.”

Ms Mills’s report adds: “Supporting people to achieve a health weight remains a key public health issue locally with 70.9 per cent of adults being overweight or obese. This is significantly higher than the national average of 62.8 per cent.

“People being less active is a contributing factor. The most recent Active Lives Survey shows 23.7 per cent of our adult population as physically inactive, which is similar to the national average.”

In September, the council launched “Let’s Get Telford Healthy”, a local campaign supporting the nationwide “Better Health” initiative.

“Individuals with poor health were targeted to take part in the campaign” which includes “regular email reminders to keep people on track and change behaviour”, she adds.

“The campaign has been very successful in its first year with 1,300 residents taking part,” Ms Mills writes.

“Fifty-eight per cent experienced an improvement in their wellbeing, 35 per cent lost weight, 35 per cent improved their energy levels, 23 per cent were sleeping better and 12 per cent reduced blood pressure.”

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