Childhood obesity. Don’t take it lightly.

18 May 2016

London has more seriously overweight children than New York, Sydney, Paris or Madrid. More than a third are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school and Brent is no exception.


Children in Brent have worse than average levels of childhood obesity. Around 10.5 per cent of children aged 4 to 5 years and 24.1 per cent of children aged 10 to 11 years are obese.


Healthy London Partnership is working with London councils and clinical commissioning groups, the Greater London Authority, NHS England and Public Health England to start a conversation about the changes we need to make across the city.


Childhood obesity is associated with significant health problems. As well as increasing mortality, obesity is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.


Fast food, parents' busy lifestyles, portion sizes, deprivation and lack of activity among children are some of the biggest causes of obesity and overweight children in the borough


Brent Council, in trying to tackle the issue, has implemented cycling; walking; and physical activity strategies and will be launching an Obesity Strategy later in the year as well as hosting lots of free children's activities such as swimming, tennis and football in the borough.


Council campaigns such as Slash Sugar/Sugar Free Tuesdays has highlighted the issues associated with consuming too much sugar which can contribute to excess weight. Other programmes in child weight management, early years settings and schools go towards putting the topic of childhood obesity on everyone's lips


Importantly Brent Council is proposing to radically limit the development of further takeaways near schools. Controlling the number of fast food outlets directly addresses the link between obesity and availability of junk food.


Weighing in on the debate is Cllr Krupesh Hirani, Lead member for Health and Wellbeing, who commented: "Brent is part of the Great Weight Debate as unfortunately our child obesity figures are disappointing. Around one in four of our 12 year olds in Brent is obese but the progress being made is promising.


"We want to make it easier for people to adapt their behaviour and make small changes to their diet and lifestyle by providing the support they need to do so."