About Cardiff and Vale

Our population

The population of Cardiff and Vale is growing rapidly in size, projected to increase by 10% between 2015-25, significantly higher than the average growth across Wales and the rest of the UK. An extra 50,000 people will live in Cardiff and Vale and require access to health and wellbeing services.

The Cardiff and Vale population is relatively young compared with the rest of Wales, with the proportion of infants (0-4 yrs) and the traditional working age population (17-64) higher than the Wales average; however the number of over 85s is increasing at a much faster rate than the rest of the population (32.4% increase between 2015-25).

The population is ethnically very diverse, particularly compared with much of the rest of Wales, with a wide range of cultural backgrounds and languages spoken.

Unhealthy behaviours which increase the risk of disease are endemic among adults in Cardiff and Vale:

  • Nearly half (44-45%) drink above alcohol guidelines
  • Nearly two thirds (66-67%) don’t eat sufficient fruit and vegetables
  • Over half (55-57%) are overweight or obese. This increases to two thirds (64%) among 45-64 year olds
  • Around three quarters (72-75%) don’t get enough physical activity
  • Almost one in five (18%) smoke
  • Two thirds (66%) of under 16s don’t get enough physical activity and nearly a third (31%) of under 16s are overweight or obese

There are stark inequalities in health outcomes in Cardiff and Vale. Life expectancy for men is nearly 12 years lower in the most deprived areas compared with those in the least deprived areas. The number of years of healthy life varies even more, with a gap of 22 years between the most and least deprived areas. Premature death rates are nearly three times higher among the most deprived areas compared with the least deprived. 

The disease profile in Cardiff and Vale is changing:  The number of people with two or more long term conditions has increased by around 5,000 in the last decade and this trend is set to continue.  Due to changes in the age profile of the population and risk factors for disease, new diagnoses for conditions such as diabetes and dementia are increasing significantly.  Heart disease, lung cancer and cerebrovascular disease are the leading causes of death in men and women. Many (but not all) of the most common long term conditions and causes of death may be avoided by making changes in health-related behaviours.

MECC in Cardiff and Vale

MECC is an approach to embedding prevention into every day interactions which aims to empower staff to appropriately and confidently discuss lifestyle issues and signpost to appropriate support. In Cardiff and Vale, MECC training has been offered since 2012 and has been delivered to staff from health services, local authorities, third sector and wider across partnership organisations. Our focus for 2017/18 is on further embedding the approach within health services.

MECC testimonials

“We all found the MECC training excellent. We talked as a group about the idea of asking ‘permission’ to talk about lifestyle factors. For example, ‘Do you mind if we talk about your weight?’ I know a few people in our team have used this strategy and found it useful to start a healthy chat.

The training reinforced the importance of consistently addressing the health topics. For some of the more junior staff, the training did more to improve the confidence in starting conversations in these areas.”

Huw Griffiths, Physiotherapist at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

“It’s so important for us to discuss the key lifestyle factors with our patients. We often talk to them about smoking and weight-loss, as it is essential for them to look after themselves, especially with their existing health problems.”

Bethan Shiers, Adult Congenital Heart Disease Specialist Nurse at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

MECC in the news:

In Cardiff and the Vale, we are proactive in generating news stories to raise awareness around lifestyle risk factors. Case studies around health topics relating to MECC have proven popular on our website and social media channels.

UHB launches staff Health and Well-being calendar for 2017 - http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/news/43683

Cardiff woman who had 16 operations urges others to quit smoking before surgery - http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/news/42758

Cardiff mum warns of diabetes danger -


Cardiff doctor makes animated film to help patients quit smoking before surgery - http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/cardiff-doctor-makes-animated-film-11798272

A cyclist from Cardiff who was hospitalised with severe flu is urging others to have their flu jab - http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/cyclist-cardiff-who-hospitalised-severe-12070379

Children in Cardiff and the Vale are getting protected against flu - http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/news/43228

Mums-to-be in Cardiff and the Vale are protecting their bumps from flu - http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/news/43341

Staff at Wales’ biggest hospital reveal how flu is impacting wards - http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/news/43834

We produce a quarterly newsletter which goes out to our stakeholders, including people who have engaged in MECC training sessions:

MECC newsletter September 2016

MECC newsletter January 2017

Our MECC website also features useful resources  to help people have conversations around lifestyle risk factors:

For more information about MECC in Cardiff and the Vale, contact Dr Sian Griffiths:

E: sian.griffiths6@wales.nhs.uk

T: 029 20336201               

What is Physical Inactivity Costing Cardiff & Vale University Health Board?

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