Six-point plan to tackle food poverty and obesity unveiled

Croydon has one of the highest densities of fast food shops in London. Pic: Siqbal

A six-point plan aiming to tackle food related social issues in Croydon and greater London was backed by the council cabinet meeting on Monday.

Rachel Flowers, director of public health for Croydon Council, discussed a series of action points to combat food poverty and obesity at Monday night’s unveiling of the latest independent annual food report.  

The report included  six key recommendations and 22 further recommendations aimed at a number of different authorities and organisations, including government, the Mayor of London and members of the food industry.   

Rachel Flowers. Pic: Harry Thompson

The unveiling, which took place at a Croydon Council cabinet meeting, received widespread support from members of the chamber. 

Speaking to the cabinet, Flowers said: “All Croydon residents should have access to affordable, healthy and tasty food, regardless of where they live or how much they earn.” 

The six key recommendations were aimed at five different audiences:  

  • Addressing members of the public, Flowers encouraged diners to ditch the 12-inch plate, which has become the normal portion serving size in the UK in recent decades, and replace them with nine-inch plates as used in much of mainland Europe.  
  • Speaking to Croydon’s medical organisations, she recommended all 64 GP practices across the borough receive additional training in nutrition and weight management to help patients better tackle their health issues.  
  • In a plea to the Mayor of London she asked for a target to be set of zero food banks in the city by 2024.
The six key points. Pic: Croydon borough council
  • To the local food industry, she recommended that all of Croydon’s 394 fast food outlets sign up to the Eat Well Croydon scheme. According to the report Croydon has one of the highest densities of fast food outlets of any borough in the city, ranking in the top 10. 
  • Speaking to the cabinet, Flowers appealed to the Government to take further action on mandatory nutrition labelling on food packaging and asked that they develop a food poverty strategy with the aim of eliminating food banks across the entire country by 2027.  

Food charity, Sustain, ranked Croydon second best in the city for tackling food poverty. Trust for London claim that only 21.5 per cent of people in Croydon live below the poverty line compared to the average 27 per cent across the city. Despite this, Flowers’ report found that 19.8 per cent of children in Croydon are eligible for free school meals. 

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