Local Authorities are employing varied and innovative approaches to tackle childhood obesity. Some of these are outlined in a new report by the Local Government Association, Healthy Weight, Healthy Futures.
The report outlines some great initiatives, including these approaches to attitude and behaviour change:
Giving up fizz – A social marketing campaign encouraging 11-18 year olds to swap fizzy drinks for water or milk, in the style of Stoptober/ Dry January. (Blackpool)
Debating the right to choose to consume sugar – 10-11 year olds took part in debates about sugar consumption, encouraging to think about the negative consequences (West Sussex)
Starting young – tackling the problem before it manifests by working with pregnant women (Telford and Wrekin)
Other initiatives mentioned include:
- Reformulating school meals and reducing the size of pudding
portions (apparently resulting in a half kilo reduction in the amount of sugar a single child will consume a year!)
- Awards schemes for local eateries based on healthier practices (who would have known that banging the basket six times when chips have been fried reduces fat absorption by 20%?)
The answer obviously doesn’t lie in any one of these approaches, but in a multi-pronged one, which is perhaps why the case study from Lambeth stands out… They have trained over 900 front line staff in how to identify and deal with weight problems in children. Sharing the responsibility and ability to tackle obesity has to be a good plan!
The full report can be read here