Agenda item

Child obesity; 2016 Update

To consider an update on action to address child obesity within the borough.


Deborah Millward, Healthy Public Policy Officer from Public Health, reported that the government had recently published “Child Obesity: A plan of Action”, which outlined their plan to reduce England’s rate of childhood obesity within the next ten years.  Haringey had adopted a “whole systems” approach to the issue and established the Haringey Obesity Alliance, which was currently chaired by Councillor Arthur, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Health.  A strategic role was followed, which focussed principally on sugar reduction and physical activity.  A range of initiatives were taking place including work to encourage schools to increase the length of PE lessons to two hours and the “Daily Mile” programme.  In addition, Councillor Arthur had pledged to review the food that was provided within Council properties that children attended. A Play Streets weekend was also planned to take place in the spring. Work was also taking place between Regeneration and Public Health regarding the key elements on design.


In answer to a question, it was acknowledged that it would be a challenge to increase PE lessons in schools to two hours.  PE had been squeezed by the demands of other school subjects and the local authority could only offer encouragement and not compel schools.  The Daily Mile would supplement this approach.  Good practice in schools, such as active classrooms, would also be promoted.


There were sensitivities around children from different cultural backgrounds.  There were a range of community and voluntary organisations involved in the Obesity Alliance and work would be undertaken with them to reach the communities that they covered.  Best practice from boroughs similar to Haringey would also be incorporated.


The Panel noted that a proposal by the Council to implement a 400 metre exclusion zone of hot fast food takeaways around schools had been rejected by the external planning officer.   Public Health England was assisting the Council’s case by providing the latest data in order to challenge the Planning Inspectorate regarding this.  It was possible that provisions within the London Plan would supersede local provisions.


Ms Millward reported that a Healthy Catering Commitment had been introduced within the borough and 86 establishments had now signed up to it.  In order to gain certification, businesses had to achieve at least a significant number of 22 criteria.  The scheme was entirely voluntary and work was being undertaken with the Council’s Communications Team to increase awareness of it.


A lot of work was being undertaken to promote play and unorganised physical activity and Homes for Haringey had been involved in this.  Attention was being given to the needs of young girls as their activity levels tended to be lower, especially after adolescence.  Efforts were also being made to incorporate provision for physical activity within the built environment.  There were 6 key elements within this and details were passed to developers, who were asked to specify how they would address them.  This work was at its early stages.  It was not intended to impose standards on developers but hoped instead to encourage innovation and creativity on their part. 


The Panel noted that data on child obesity was derived from measurements of children that were taken by schools.  Work was undertaken with other boroughs and this enabled examples of good practice, such as the measures that had been successful in Lambeth, to be taken on board.




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