CASH-strapped Welsh councils must find more money to pump into leisure services to combat obesity, it has been claimed.
Dr Haboubi, chairman of National Obesity Forum Wales, told BBC Wales: “We already have an obesity crisis in Wales. It is sad that (the cuts are) going ahead, when we should be doing the exact opposite.”
The Welsh Government said reductions to council funding had been unavoidable. Until this year councils had been relatively protected from Westminster cuts.
Leisure services are considered particularly vulnerable because councils have no legal obligation to provide them.
Dr Haboubi said: “In America there has been an increase in the number of leisure centres increasing their opening hours to 24 hours a day and Wales is the worst part of the western world apart from the US
“The single most important cause of obesity is a sedentary lifestyle and the more active you are, the less likely you are to be obese.”
Different councils in Wales have adopted different approaches when it comes to leisure savings.
Carmarthenshire Council voted last week to freeze planned rises to sports pitch fees, pending a review, in the face of protests.
Keri Evans, chairman of Dafen Welfare AFC in Llanelli, said: “The prices have been frozen, but who knows? This cloud is still hanging over us at the moment.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Significant UK Government reductions to the overall Welsh budget mean a reduction to local government funding was unavoidable.
“In protecting the local government settlement over the past three years, we made it clear this was to enable authorities to invest in the transformational activity needed to be able to maintain local services in the tougher financial climate to come.
“We remain committed to reducing obesity in Wales by encouraging and supporting individuals and families to make positive choices, including having a healthier diet and being more physically active.”