Agenda item

Childhood Obesity.


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Public Health which informed of the current work programme to address overweight children and obesity in Leicestershire. A copy of the report, ‘marked ‘Agenda Item 9’, is filed with these minutes.


Arising from discussions the following points were noted:


(i)          Concerns were raised about the number of people taking sick leave from work or that were unable to work due to obesity and related issues. Members stressed the importance of prevention and tackling problems early in people’s lives before they got into bad habits.


(ii)         In order to tackle the problem of obese children it was important to communicate with and influence the parents and carers of those children early on and even before birth.


(iii)       Girls tended to stop taking part in physical activity in their early teens and for boys it was usually when they left school and action needed to be taken to ensure these people continued exercising. In response the Director explained that Active Together ensured a broad range of physical activity was available for all ages and the Director agreed to liaise with them to see what more could be done regarding the drop off rates for children.


(iv)       There was evidence that there was a link between breastfeeding and healthy weight in children therefore it was particularly disappointing that breastfeeding rates were known to be low in Leicestershire. In response to concerns that the full picture in relation to breastfeeding rates in Leicestershire was unknown due to issues with the quality of the data and under-recording the Director gave reassurance that a better quality of data in relation to breastfeeding was now available.


(v)        Some mothers were eligible for the Healthy Start scheme which provided vouchers for buying food and milk. However, members felt that this scheme was not well enough publicised and it was unclear who had responsibility for making mothers aware the scheme was available. In response the Director stated that the 0-19 Healthy Child Service, foodbanks and maternity services all played a role in promoting the Healthy Start scheme but it was acknowledged that more needed to be done and consideration would be given to whether Public Health could link in with debt advisors.


(vi)       It was suggested that dentists should have a mechanism for referring patients with a poor diet to public health so that the department could make interventions and encourage those people to eat more healthily. The Director of Public Health agreed to give consideration to whether such a referral mechanism was possible.




That the current work programme to address overweight children and obesity be welcomed but it be noted that further work is required to be carried out to tackle the problem.

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