Healthwatch Haringey claims more needs to be done to tackle childhood obesity

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by , Reporter

A healthcare watchdog has called on Haringey Borough Council to do more to tackle childhood obesity after it was revealed one in three ten-year-olds is seriously overweight.

Healthwatch Haringey made the comments after a report by Haringey’s Health and Wellbeing Board found that 39.4 per cent of the borough’s Year 6 students are overweight or obese.

The report said the figure is above the London average and that the situation was getting worse, as only in the 2011/12 financial year only 38.8 per cent were obese.

Healthwatch chairman Sharon Grant said: “It’s a serious problem but there is no single way to solve it.

“I think parents, schools, the voluntary sector and the local authority need to work together to tackle it.

“The key thing is education – we need to educate people about what is in their food, especially what’s in their drink, because children are just drinking in the calories.”

In 2012, Haringey Borough Council published a report about childhood obesity in the borough called “All food and no play... are Haringey’s children healthy?”.

The report described obesity in children as a “ticking health time-bomb” and said overweight children are more likely to be depressed, have low self-esteem and get bullied.

It also said obese children are more likely to be very overweight adults and if current trends continue, two thirds of adults will be overweight by 2050.

Mrs Grant added: “We have the first generation of children who are going to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of obesity.

“This is a top priority for everyone who works in health and social care in the borough and we are keeping track of the progress being made.

“It will not be solved overnight but this is a classic example of a problem that has to be solved in partnership.”

A Haringey Council spokesman said childhood obesity is a major public health priority for the authority.

It is said it is trying to prevent children becoming overweight from an early age by:

  •  Supporting breastfeeding among mothers
  •  Promoting a balanced diet for families with the Healthy Start Scheme in which eligible families receive vouchers for fruit and vegetables
  •  Healthy weaning, healthy eating and active play by giving vulnerable families information and advice through the Healthy Child Programme
  •  Encouraging schools to promote healthy eating and physical activity through the Healthy Schools programme
  •  Promoting sport and organising competitions between schools with the Schools Sports Partnership

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