Residents of Tower Hamlets are being invited to share their views on how children can be supported to lead healthier lives as part of a new London-wide campaign, The Great Weight Debate, a London conversation on childhood obesity.
Tower Hamlets has the fifth highest proportion of obesity within 10- to 11year-olds in London and the sixth highest in the country.
Nearly one in seven children in reception (four to five year olds) and over one in four of children in year six (10 to 11 year olds) are classed as obese in Tower Hamlets.
However, levels of obesity in four to five year olds have been decreasing over the last five years and following a steep rise, the levels of obesity in 10 to 11 year olds has plateaued over the last three years.
Tower Hamlets Council said. “As childhood obesity is associated with a wide range of health problems in both childhood and later in life, reducing obesity in Tower Hamlets is a key public health priority locally.”
Councillor Amy Whitelock Gibbs, cabinet member for Health and Adult Services stated: “Childhood obesity is a growing problem both nationally and locally. There are many factors that contribute to these high levels and we all have a responsibility to help make healthy changes to improve the outcomes for the next generation.”
Tower Hamlets is locally launching the Great Weight Debate by inviting everyone to give their views through a short survey on childhood obesity and what they think can be done to tackle it.
Mayor John Biggs said: “Given how many people it affects we need a wider public conversation about the dangers of childhood obesity. We would like as many residents as possible to have their say; parents, carers, grandparents, young people, community groups and schools. Together we can make a real difference to the health, lives and futures of the children in our borough.”
Overweight and obese children are at increased risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, bone and joint problems and breathing difficulties.
Being overweight or obese can affect a child’s mental wellbeing, lead to low self-esteem and school absences which can affect their learning.
You can complete the Great Weight Debate survey here.