Childhood Obesity: Current Activities and Services

Lewisham’s strategy for reducing childhood obesity includes obesity prevention, treatment and management. The actions are focused around five key themes.

  1. The healthy growth and development of children – early prevention of weight problems to avoid the ‘conveyor-belt’ effect into adulthood
  2. Promoting healthier food choices – reducing the consumption of foods high in fat and sugar and salt and increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables
  3. Building physical activity into our lives – getting people moving as a normal part of their day
  4. Creating incentives for better health – increasing the understanding and value people place on the long-term impact of decisions
  5. Personalised advice and support for individuals who already have weight problems – complementing preventative care with treatment

Universal action plans for obesity prevention have been developed which are multi-component and involve partnership working. The action plans for the universal services are divided into 7 work streams, national child measurement programme, maternity, early years, schools, leisure, sport and environment, food strategy and workforce training and communication. These universal services are providing services to all children in Lewisham including the 25-40% of children potentially at risk of obesity. To develop the universal services and to provide a more targeted service several specialist posts have been funded;

  • a healthy weight school nurse to lead on the national child measurement programme
  • an infant nutrition project manager to lead on improving breastfeeding uptake
  • a promoting healthy weight advisor working with the healthy schools team (fixed term funding))
  • a specialist paediatric dietitian working within the children’s centres (fixed term funding).

Workforce training is in progress so that everyone working at a local level is clear about their role in promoting the benefits of a healthy weight to families, children and young people. Lewisham’s aim is that by 2011 over 500 staff will have attended training; key personnel will have the knowledge and skills necessary to develop individual weight management interventions with families and frontline staff will be able to raise the issue of obesity with families and enable them to promote a healthy lifestyle among families. A limited targeted service is available for children identified as overweight or obese. In 2010/11 it is proposed to deliver 4 family weight management programmes (Mend) for children aged between 7-13 years with a capacity to see 60 children and their families. Individual sessions are also available for children and families to discuss their weight concerns with a school nurse or the specialist paediatric dietitian working in the children’s centres. Referrals can also be made for children identified as very obese to the hospital dietetic service. A gap in services for children identified as overweight or obese has been identified.




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