Five councils to receive £1.5M funding to trial new childhood obesity programmes

Grassroots approaches to tackling childhood obesity will receive £1.5 million in funding, the Government has announced.

Five councils are to be supported by the Department of Health and Social Care, the Local Government Association and Public Health England to trial new programmes in their areas.

These plans include working with hot food takeaways to overhaul their menus and offering health, food and nutrition apprenticeships to 15-19-year olds in deprived areas.

Under the Government’s plans, Bradford, Blackburn with Darwen, Nottinghamshire, Lewisham and Birmingham councils will be awarded £100,000 worth of funding and support per year over the next three years.

The extra funding is to give councils the ability to test their ideas and methods, the department said, and is part of the second chapter of the childhood obesity plan which aims to halve obesity in youngsters by 2030.

But Labour said the Government’s progress on tackling childhood obesity was moving at a “snail’s pace”.

They claim the Government has missed four out of six policy consultation deadlines for the second Childhood Obesity Plan, which was launched a year ago.

Sharon Hodgson, Labour’s shadow minister for public health, said: “One year on since the plan was published, the Government’s so-called commitment to childhood obesity remains mere window dressing.

“So it is no surprise that childhood obesity is still at a record high.

“There is no silver bullet to childhood obesity, but the Government isn’t taking any serious action to tackle the crisis this country faces.”

Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy said communities need to “play their part” in helping to reduce obesity among the young.

“Every child deserves the best start in life – communities need to come together to play their part in helping the next generation to be healthy and active,” she said.

“Prevention is at the heart of our NHS Long Term Plan, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not work in public health.

“These pilots are rightly rooted in the needs of the communities they serve and I look forward to seeing what benefits this grassroots approach has on our nation’s obesity problem.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Gareth Fuller / PA Wire.