Childhood Obesity: National and Local Strategies

Tackling obesity is a national priority; in 2007 a new ambition for England was announced -‘the first major country to reverse the rising tide of obesity and overweight in the population by ensuring that all individuals are able to maintain a healthy weight. Our initial focus is on children: by 2020 we will have reduced the proportion of overweight and obese children to 2000 levels’. A cross-Government strategy, led by the Department of Health and the DCSF: “Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: A Cross-Government strategy for England” was published in 2008 to support this target. It specifically focuses on five areas:

  • The healthy growth and development of children
  • Promoting healthier food choices
  • Building physical activity into our lives
  • Creating incentives for better health
  • Personalised advice and support

Nationally the government has a number of programmes, some of which cut across services and organizations which impact on obesity prevention. The updated Healthy Child Programme is the main delivery mechanism for obesity prevention in early years and now provides greater emphasis on nutrition, breastfeeding and physical activity. Other programmes that support the prevention of obesity include the Healthy Start programme, the Healthy Schools programme and ‘change4life’ a national social marketing programme. At a local level the 2009-12 Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP) sets out how partnership agencies working with children, young people and their families will support the delivery of the borough’s priorities including reducing childhood obesity. The Promoting Healthy Weight in Children and Families group is a multi-agency partnership group responsible for the delivery of the actions outlined in the childhood obesity strategy, and is a sub-group of the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership Board. The strategy encompasses prevention and treatment of obesity as part of a long term plan to promote healthy lifestyles in the borough. The impact of any intervention in the childhood obesity strategy will be strengthened by the range of policies in Lewisham that act as enablers and amplifiers, these include;

  • Sustainable community strategy
  • The Lewisham Food Strategy
  • Open Space Strategy
  • Physical Activity Plan
  • Sports Plan
  • Play and Recreation strategy
  • Sustainable mode of travel strategy for schools
  • Regeneration and planning strategy.

4. Tackling obesity through the healthy child programme. A framework for action. Mary Rudolf.




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