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10.10.19

LGA responds to damning childhood obesity report

As part of her final work as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor Dame Sally Davies, has published a report named ‘Time to solve childhood obesity’.

The report is aimed at politicians and policy makers rather than parents and claims the government should prioritise children’s health ahead of companies’ profits.

The 96-page-report outlines UK ambitions to have halved childhood obesity by 2030, despite England being ‘nowhere near’ achieving it.

One study revealed that an average of six primary school children out of a class of 30 are obese and a further four are overweight. A number which has doubled over the past 30 years.

It also showed that children living in the most deprived areas are disproportionately affected.

Some of the health impacts of childhood obesity are asthma, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and joint pain – all of which would rely on the NHS for treatment.

She is calling on politicians to ensure that healthy food is more affordable, unhealthy food is less widely marketed and children have the chance to live and play in a healthy and safe environment.

Portion sizes are targeted as research shows that food sizes have increased and it encourages people to eat more.

Davies said in her report:

“Excess weight has slowly crept up on us all and is now often accepted as normal. This is a matter of health not about how children look. Too often discussion about weight is heard as stigmatizing and laying the blame on individuals.”

“The science is increasingly clear, genes and inheritance do affect individual risk, but it is the profound changes in the living environment that are shaping everybody’s behaviour and making it much harder for us all to be a healthy weight.”

In response to the damning report the Local Government Association has said:

“Childhood obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges we face and this report is another reminder of the urgent need for radical action to combat this epidemic.

“We strongly support the report’s call for stronger planning powers to help deal with some of the underlying causes of obesity, such as tackling the clustering of takeaways and restricting junk food advertising.

“Children have a right to grow up in a healthy environment, but bold and brave decisions need to be taken to help create this and meet the target of halving childhood obesity by 2030.”

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