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Talk to us about childhood obesity

Thursday 27th October 2016

Residents in the Royal Borough of Greenwich are being invited to share their views on how children in the borough can be supported to lead healthier lives as part of a new London-wide conversation on childhood obesity.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has joined councils and NHS organisations across London to launch the Great Weight Debate – a London conversation on childhood obesity.

As part of the campaign, we are encouraging residents to complete a short survey to share your views on what changes you think would help make a difference to the health of children in our borough.  

Evidence shows that our environment in London makes it much more challenging for families to make healthy choices. There is widespread availability of cheap, high calorie foods 24/7, portion sizes are larger, unhealthy food is marketed to children and city environments can discourage walking and cycling. 

Obesity is a normal response to an abnormal environment and we need to make changes to our environment to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

The Great Weight Debate aims to make residents in Greenwich more aware of this problem and hear what ideas they have for changes that can be made at a community and London-wide level. 

London has more overweight and obese children than any other global city, including New York, Sydney, Paris or Madrid. It 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 Royal Borough of Greenwich has the third most overweight or obese reception children amongst London boroughs, and more overweight and obese children between reception age and year 6 than the England and London average.

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.

Evidence from global experts highlights that we are living in an abnormal environment where our surroundings make it harder to follow a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy weight. For example: 

• On average, 11 to 18 year olds consume three times more than the recommended amount of sugar every day
• The average child in England spends six hours a day in front of a screen
• There are 8,000 fried chicken shops in London 
• The average chicken shop meal of chicken, chips and a drink contains 70% of an adult’s daily calories
• Only 28 per cent of children in England achieve the recommended activity levels

The Great Weight Debate survey can be completed online at:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GWD2016

Find out more about childhood obesity in London and make a pledge to improve your  health and wellbeing on the Great Weight Debate website.

Join the Great Weight Debate on twitter using the hashtag #greatweightdebate or email any ideas or thoughts to greatweightdebate@gethealthy.london