A FITNESS expert says older people are making more effort to buck the obesity trend.

Marc Scriven, a Worcester-based strength and conditioning co-ordinator, has seen interest in his fitness classes increase as older people try and fight back against the obesity epidemic.

His sessions, aimed at men over the age of 60, only had about eight people in them until recently, but now more than 40 people attend classes at the University of Worcester’s McClelland Centre of Health and Wellbeing in Infirmary Walk, off Castle Street, every Friday.

Your Worcester News recently reported how county strategists have said there is “no magic wand” to make people slim and they must take more responsibility for their own health, including exercise and diet as well as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake.

The latest figures show an estimated 115,900 in the county are obese (about a quarter of the adult population in Worcestershire), costing the NHS about £80 million a year and £60 million to the wider economy.

Mr Scriven, of St John’s, Worcester, said the demand for his classes shows people are willing to take more responsibility for their health if they are given the opportunity.

He said: “It has been an incredible turnaround and success. We see our group as being a big part of tackling obesity and we see it as a catalyst to get to grips with other heath issues in an ageing population, for example, issues like nutrition. If we can have an effect where people’s lives are improved through exercise and healthy eating we can limit their exposure to the National Health Service.

“You’re going to stop spending the money on care so you’re preventative rather than reactive. “It is too late when someone is having a hip replacement or heart surgery. “We can do something four or five years before that happening. The interest from people has always been there but the opportunity to take advantage of that interest hasn’t.”

People at the classes use a range of exercises and equipment to improve their all-round flexibility, mobility and fitness using ‘functional strength movements’, actions which can improve people’s ability to do complete everyday tasks such as gardening. The focus is on a ‘multi-joint’ and ‘multi muscle’ workout.

For more information call 01905 542001 or email wellbeing@worc.ac.uk.