Residents are being invited to take part in a new London-wide conversation on how to reduce the number of overweight children in the borough.
The Great Weight Debate, which launched this week, is encouraging all residents to complete a short survey to express their views on what they think is needed to make it easier for people to eat good food and maintain a healthy weight.
Croydon Council and Croydon NHS Clinical Commissioning Group have joined councils and NHS organisations across the capital to get more people to throw their weight behind the issue. An interactive roadshow has been organised for Monday 24 October, in North End, to gather even more ideas for changes that could be made at community and London-wide levels in order to combat the obesity problem.
The 2015 public health report of Croydon’s director of public health revealed that two in five 10- to 11-year-olds (1,300) are overweight or obese.
The prevalence of obesity doubles between ages four and five, and 10 and 11 years. The problem is exacerbated because half of parents do not recognise their children are overweight or obese, and 97% of obese or overweight children have overweight parents.
There are more overweight and obese children in London than any other global city. The region also has a higher rate of obesity than anywhere else in the country, with more than a third of all children in London overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.
The Great Weight Debate is led by the Healthy London Partnership, a collaboration of London’s health and care systems to support the delivery of better health in London.
Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for families, health and social care
“The challenge of tackling childhood obesity is very complex. As well as health problems that can develop, carrying too much weight can also lead to other issues, such as stigma, bullying and low self-esteem.
“The Great Weight Debate will play a part in our ongoing work in Croydon to make sure children have healthier lives. We recently hosted a full day’s workshop with health and education professionals as groundwork to develop a local plan that supports children, young people and adults to maintain a healthy weight.
“Many of our schoolchildren and families are taking part in healthy food and physical activity programmes – such as Food Flagship, Phunky Foods, Alive’n’Kicking and WeightWatchers. There are a number of walking and cycling schemes around the borough, and action is sought from businesses, too, through the Eatwell Croydon campaign, which encourages shops, cafés and takeaways to use healthier cooking methods and to offer healthy food choices.”
Dr Tony Brzezicki, clinical chair of Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s extremely timely to be continuing this important conversation about childhood obesity in Croydon. Obese children are at increased risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, bone and joint problems, and breathing difficulties. Being overweight or obese can affect a child’s mental well-being, lead to low self-esteem, and absence from school, which can affect their learning.
“We hope that as many children, young people, adults and healthcare professionals working in Croydon as possible will join the debate. Together we can make a real difference to the health, lives and futures of the children in our borough.”
Two new digital health services will soon go live across the borough. Croydon Council has created the ‘JustBe Croydon’ website and there will also be the ‘Health Help Now Croydon’ website and phone app from NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group.
These two digital services have been specially created to help residents get the information, advice and help they need to be fitter, healthier and happier, and to make better use of local health and well-being services.
The Great Weight Debate survey takes five minutes to complete and can be found at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GWD2016
Obesity statistics (Source: Healthy London Partnerships)
• London has more seriously overweight children than New York, Sydney, Paris or Madrid
• One in five four- to five-year-olds in London are overweight or obese
• Two of every five children in London are overweight or obese when they start secondary school
• There are 8,600 fried chicken shops in London
• The average chicken shop meal of chicken, chips and a drink contains 70% of an adult’s daily calories
• On average, 11- to 18-year-olds consume three times more than the recommended amount of sugar every day
• Only 285 of children in England achieve the recommended activity levels
• The average child in England spends six hours a day in front of a screen
• Tooth decay is the most common reason for five- to nine-year-olds to be admitted to hospital