Birmingham has the 311th highest rate of childhood obesity of 324 Local Authorities – one in four of our children is obese by the time they leave primary school.
The significance of this is huge.
These children have higher rates of illness and need more medical care, 85% will become obese adults and are facing cardiovascular, muscle and bone problems later (perhaps not much later) in life, not to mention increased risk of depression and low self esteem as they enter adolescence.
Childhood obesity is one of ten priorities in Birmingham’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Board, which straddles Birmingham City Council, Clinical Commissioning Groups, the NHS, Healthwatch and the voluntary sector, have set a target to reduce the percentage of 10-11 year olds in Birmingham who are overweight or obese from 40% to 34% by 2018.
The City’s Childhood Obesity Strategy outlines how. This centres on changing the environment, behaviour and opportunity to encourage physical activity and health food choices.
Specific action outlined in the strategy and Scrutiny review into Childhood Obesity includes:
- working with schools and early years settings to promote healthy lifestyle choices
- a childhood obesity care pathway covering diet, behaviour and physical activity
- stronger planning policy to reduce the obesogenic environment, mainly controlling the location of fast food outlets
- more joined up working between the council, health and 3rd sector
- establish what advertising the Council and other stakeholders have control or influence over with a view to using this influence to promote healthy eating and physical activity (shame no-one mentioned this to the Active Parks scheme eh?)
and of course, us.
One of four priorities outlined in the Birmingham Food Charter is for Birmingham to be renowned as a city whose children eat well, which involves halting, then reducing the growth in childhood obesity. The Birmingham Food Council has a remit to oversee and report on the coordination of actions to deliver this.
Image – Public Health England