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Agenda item

Child Obesity



Julie Billett, Director of Public Health and Julie Edgecombe, Assistant Public Health Strategist outlined the report for the Committee, during which the following main points were made –


·          The Council takes a holistic, whole system approach to tackling obesity which includes creating an environment that supports good health and wellbeing, by improving the food environment, improving the food offer and promoting physical activity

·         The Council has long term multi sectoral partnerships to promote this and encourages settings such as workplaces, schools and children’s centres to promote good health

·         It also supports families and children to maintain a healthy weight, which included a Families for Life programme, health living nurse and a psychology service for children with complex needs

·         It was noted that 2.52% of reception children had severe obesity, similar to the England average, while 5.9% of year 6 pupils had severe obesity, which is higher than the England average of 4.07%

·         Families for Life is a universal healthy lifestyle programme for families with a child aged 2-11 years. Activities include 4 or 6 week programme focusing on healthy eating, active games and cook and eat activities. 21 programmes ran in 2017/18 and 98 unique families were reached

·         An early years and primary parent champion offer to increase referrals into the programme and allow for parent champions to support sessions

·         From April 2019, these programmes will be delivered by Islington’s School Improvement service

·         In relation to the Healthy Living service, which is a weight management service for 5-16 year olds, overweight children are offered one to one support including home visits if needed

·         In 2016/17 1038 children were identified as overweight and obese by the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), and of these 613 were identified as very overweight

·         The Healthy Living Service delivered by Whittington Health, provides follow up support to those children identified via NCMP, and also takes referrals from GP’s, school nurses and other professionals

·         Vacancies within the service and the numbers of overweight children exceeding service capacity, meant that the service has had to target its resources to focus on supporting those children who are very overweight

·         Future models for the delivery of tier 2 weight management services are being developed. Since the enhanced tier 2 weight management service was introduced in 2017, public health has commissioned an enhanced weight management service to help develop and evaluate the type of weight management intervention that best supports children with co-morbidities, and /or complex needs. This involves working collaboratively with CAMHS, dieticians and community paediatricians via a MST

·         Since launch in October 2017, there have been 16 referrals to the pilot service with 9 children/families seen to date

·         With a small amount of financial support from Islington CCG the pilot has extended to run until March 2019, to help build up evidence and develop the model

·         Discussions are ongoing with the CCG regarding funding  beyond April 2019, but this service could be aligned to the CAMHS transformation work locally

·         Update on Local Government Declaration on sugar reduction and healthier eating pledges – this was signed by Haringey and Islington Health and Wellbeing Board in October 2017. The summary of pledges and activity include –

Tackle advertising and sponsorship – draft policy agreed and need to clarify policy in relation to alcohol and there is a process in place for agreeing corporate leadership

Improve the food controlled or influenced by the Council – Develop a food standards policy (to be completed by Sept 2018) and pilot healthy vending machines in progress with local key employers/organisations

Reduce prominence of sugary drinks and promote free drinking water – pledge to align work across Islington on plastic waste, includes Refilll Islington and installation of water fountains in public places. It was noted that funding from the Mayor was available to assist in this. Refill Islington will launch in July and a day of action has taken place to get businesses signed up and so far 40 businesses have done this

Support  businesses and organisations to improve their food offer

Public events – work with Greenspace team to the Councils’ event application procedure\; safer food is embedded and the provider must be rated 3 or higher as part of events policy and must provide a range of healthy offerings e.g. the caterers must have a Healthy Catering commitment

Raise public awareness

·         Members were of the view that the launch of the Public awareness campaign could be done at full Council and the Executive Member Health and Social Care stated that she would investigate the possibility of this

·         It was noted that the Family Centre is shared across Camden and Islington and there is funding of £40000 available and this funds for 6 months, 3 full time psychologists and an assistant psychologist and is good value. There is a long list of families, and the intention is to build capacity by involving other organisations and services interlinked to provide an evidence base

·         Members expressed concern at the increase in child obesity between reception and year 6, and it was stated that family influence plays a big part in diet, even though primary schools have the free school meals offer

·         The view was expressed that there is a link between deprivation and obesity for a number of reasons, and residents relationship with food needs to be examined

·         In relation to the sugar tax this has proved successful although manufacturers have now reduced sugar in their products to such an extent that the funding is only likely to be for one year

·         Reference was made to the fact that families did not tend to eat together, as in the past, and community centres and cookery classes etc should be promoted to encourage healthy eating habits. Community kitchens and food co-ops need to be supported


The Chair thanked Julie Billett and Julie Edgecombe for their presentation

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