Not playing the weighting game

By Jim Dickson | 16 May 2017

As is now common currency obesity remains a major public health challenge. Being overweight increases the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke and can reduce life expectancy by as much as 11 years. Overweight youngsters become obese adults and early intervention is vital.  

In the absence of clear leadership from the government, whose 2016 obesity strategy flunked many key challenges, it’s up to councils – with our responsibilities for public and environmental health, planning, leisure and recreation - to hold the ring on action to promote healthy eating and encourage healthy weight. We have the ability to influence food and drink offers in our buildings, leisure centres, libraries and other commissioned services. We set standards for school meals and provide free breakfasts. We can ban new fast outlets near schools as we have done in Lambeth. And by co-ordinating our policies with partners including in the health and third sectors we can help people achieve healthier diets and lifestyles.

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