New strategy is being developed to tackle the complex issue of healthy weight in children
Telford and Wrekin Council is working to tackle healthy weight in children with a specialist senior public health practitioner due to start work in May.
The council says tackling the issue is complex and council departments and wider partners are to work together to outline a strategy for tackling this issue and taking action in the areas where it can have local influence
A report to a committee meeting on Thursday says globally there has been an increased intake of foods that are high in fat and sugars and an increase in physical inactivity.
"We know that some children are more exposed to high fat, high sugar and high salt foods which tend to be lower in cost but also lower in nutrient content. These dietary patterns along with being less physically active result in large increases in childhood obesity," the report says.
The Best Start in Life report says there are may schemes already running in the area.
The Healthy Pregnancy Service launched in August 2022, provided by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, supports all pregnant people in the county with a BMI of 30 and above to be seen in the comfort of their own home by a trained healthy lifestyles advisor. Uptake has been steady with approximately 30-35 per cent of eligible people accepting the service with many wishing to continue the support throughout pregnancy.
The NHS Healthy Start helping those receiving benefits pregnant or with young children get milk, fruit and vitamins has been taken up by 67 per cent of eligible families in Telford and Wrekin.
The Council’s Health Improvement Team provides support to the primary schools with the highest obesity rates.
"In addition to our targeted work with individual schools the team has also developed a Health and Wellbeing Toolkit which is available for 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 inequalities funding has provided 20 schools with physical activity training delivered by the Youth Sport Trust and support from the Council’s Eat Well Team which has included food education, family cooking sessions and school meal taster sessions to increase uptake of our local universal free schools meal offer. More than 6300 children have benefitted from this programme during 2022."
The report says that referrals have been low to the Healthy Families Service, a 12 week support programme for families with children identified as overweight or obese."
"Our Healthy Families Practitioners are working in Donnington Wood Juniors; Millbrook Primary; Windmill and John Fletcher of Madeley supporting targeted families who would not otherwise engage with the service."
However the free swimming for all children and young people within the borough is a success and the report says, the council continues to operate the Happy Healthy Holiday Programme in School holidays.