"These new figures show there is still much to do to encourage healthier eating and habits if we are to avoid the children living with obesity today becoming the adults living with obesity tomorrow. "
Commenting on new figures published by the National Child Measurement Programme, administered by local councils, Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said:
“These new figures show there is still much to do to encourage healthier eating and habits if we are to avoid the children living with obesity today becoming the adults living with obesity tomorrow.
“Our analysis already warned the Government were set to miss their target to halve childhood obesity by 2030 without drastic action and these new figures still show this is likely to be the case, with obesity levels still higher than pre pandemic levels.
“Councils are working to support children and families to live healthy lives and reduce pressure on other public services, from health visitors supporting new parents to weight management services and subsidised leisure facilities, but more needs to be done, especially to reduce the gap between the most and least deprived.
“New powers and funding for councils are needed to build on this, including tackling the clustering of existing takeaways and restricting junk food advertising near schools. We need to expand access to Healthy Start Vouchers to ensure more families on low incomes can access fresh fruit and vegetables as well as expanding access and increasing the eligibility criteria of Free School Meals.
“Money raised from the soft drinks industry levy should also be reinvested in other council-run programmes, including exercise referral schemes, play and offering free or reduced-cost sport.
“Investment in councils’ public health services now will reap benefits for everyone longer-term, including for the NHS as we look to build back better from the pandemic and level up the future health chances of the next generation.”