Derbyshire council chiefs 'working hard' to tackle problem of childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a growing problem.
Childhood obesity is a growing problem.

Council chiefs in Derbyshire insist they are ‘working hard’ to tackle the ‘growing’ issue of childhood obesity.

Government statistics show 33 per cent of children aged 10 and 11 in Derbyshire are currently classed as overweight or obese. The England average is 34.3 per cent.

Nationally there has been an increase in obesity in children aged 10 and 11 – and this is reflected in Derbyshire.

In 2007-08, 30.8 per cent of local children aged 10 and 11 were considered to be overweight or obese.

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Councillor Carol Hart, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for health and communities, said: “Reducing obesity rates in children and young people is a vital step to ensuring they can lead healthy lives and reduce the risk of developing preventable health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

“That’s why we are working hard, with a range of partners, to come up with sustainable solutions to what is a growing national problem.”

According to the council, many factors contribute to obesity in childhood and there is no single approach which can deal with the issue.

The authority added that a ‘wide range of interventions’ are needed to help address the problem.

A council spokesperson said: “Derbyshire County Council has a variety of projects and initiatives in place to help tackle the issue.

“Our public health team, along with planning and environmental health in Chesterfield Borough Council, have worked on guidance to reduce obesity rates in children by restricting hot food takeaways within a given proximity of primary or secondary schools.

“Planning applications for hot food takeaways from the borough council are now routinely sent to the director of Public Health for consideration and feedback.”

Another project helping to tackle the problem of childhood obesity in Derbyshire is Food for Life.

This brings schools and their communities together to provide healthy, sustainable food by considering where produce comes from and how it is grown and cooked.

Caterers and the schools work to achieve bronze silver and gold awards.

Nearly 90 schools are involved in the project.

The council spokesperson added: “Future work includes Derbyshire County Council directly delivering the National Childhood Measurement Programme (NCMP) from September. The NCMP measures the height and weight of all children in reception and at year six.”

Other projects and Derbyshire-wide schemes which are aimed at combating childhood obesity

• The Derbyshire Healthy Family Service supports breastfeeding and provides information around the introduction of solid foods and targeted support where necessary

• The HENRY programme for pre-school children supports parents to adopt healthier lifestyles for their families

• The Forest Schools programme promotes outdoor activity

• The county’s schools are urged to adopt active mile initiatives

• The Heart of Derbyshire scheme encourages local businesses to offer healthier food choices such as smaller portions, lower fat, salt and sugar as well as allergen and gluten free options

• Derbyshire County Council also works with a range of partners including district and borough councils, Active Derbyshire and Jog Derbyshire which has 6,500 participants