A new strategy is being developed to address the complex problem of children’s healthy weight
The council says addressing this issue is complex and that council departments and broader partners must work together to define a strategy to address this issue and take action in areas where it can have a local impact.
A report to the committee meeting on Thursday says that globally there is an increase in the intake of foods high in fats and sugars and an increase in physical inactivity.
“We know that some children are more exposed to foods high in fat, sugar and salt which tend to be less expensive but also lower in nutrient content. These dietary patterns combined with being less physically active lead to significant increases in childhood obesity,” the report says. .
The Best Start in Life report indicates that there may be schemes already in the works in the area.
Launched in August 2022, the Healthy Pregnancy Service, provided by the NHS Trust for Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital, supports all pregnant women in the county with a BMI of 30 and over to be seen in their own homes by a trained healthy lifestyles consultant. Uptake has been steady with approximately 30 to 35 per cent of eligible people accepting the service with many wanting to continue support throughout their pregnancy.
The NHS Healthy Start helps those receiving benefits who are pregnant or with young children get access to milk, fruit and vitamins and has been taken by 67 per cent of eligible families in Telford and Ryken.
The council’s health promotion team provides support to primary schools with the highest rates of obesity.
“In addition to our targeted work with individual schools, the team has also developed a health and wellbeing toolkit that is available to all schools, early years settings and professionals working with children and families. This includes training and support to bring food and nutrition into the curriculum and support from the Travel Telford team on active travel.
“Health Disparities Funding made available physical activity training to 20 schools by the Youth Sports Fund and supported by the council’s Eat Well team which included nutrition education, family cooking sessions and school meal tasting sessions to increase uptake of our free local school meals inclusive supply, benefiting over 6,300 child from this program during the year 2022.
The report says referrals were low to the Healthy Families Service, a 12-week support program for families with overweight or obese children.
“Our Healthy Families Practitioners work at Donington Wood Juniors; Millbrook Primary; Windmill and John Fletcher of Madeley to support targeted families who would not otherwise participate in the service.”
However, free swimming for all children and young people within the borough is a success and the report says. The council continues to run the Happy Healthy Holiday program in school holidays.