23 Feb 2023 Blog: Leicester City Council Adopt Healthy Weight Declaration
In December 2022, Leicester City Council became the first local authority in the East Midlands to adopt the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight (HWD). In this blog, Leicester colleagues summarise the three key themes and guiding principles of their localised action plan, which takes a whole systems approach to promoting healthy weight.
The HWD sits as part of Leicester’s localised action plan to support the implementation of a whole systems approach to healthy weight. The adoption of the declaration has supported the narrative with internal and external colleagues and has set a precedent for adopting an approach to healthy weight that focuses on environmental change, not individual blame. The local action plan aims to create a city where everyone is able and has the power to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The development of a city-wide approach, will create an environment free from weight stigma, where the healthy choice is the easy choice and healthy living is the whole systems responsibility.
The localised action plan focuses on three key themes:
- Building a stronger system – adding to existing assets, work and programmes through the development of a whole systems approach to healthy weight.
- Changing environments to increase opportunity to eat well and move more – creating more opportunities and better access to good food and movement by focussing on environmental changes to enable healthier living and reduce negative influences.
- Empowering workforces and communities – to have supportive and enabling conversations, collaborate effectively, and support healthy weight and living across the life course, from birth and throughout education.
Launched in September 2021, the approach initially focused on learning from other areas, carrying out localised mapping and establishing relationships. Formation of the priorities and direction of the approach was supported through two workshops which had over 170 attendees from various organisations and departments both external and internal to the council. Activities from these workshops provided action points, system priorities and steered the development of the mission, guiding principles and action plan development.
Work with internal departments such as Adult Social Care, Children’s Social Care and Early Help, Planning, Development and Transport and Neighbourhood and Environmental Services has commenced and will progress over the coming months and years.
By implementing this approach, Leicester City Council hopes to build on existing assets and strengths in a collaborative way that considers the needs of local communities, focusing action where it is most needed to promote equity and make the most of existing resources and services. The approach will support existing strategies, innovate where possible and remain compassionate, understanding and free from individual blame throughout.
Everyone within the system has a part to play. For more information on the approach please visit: Healthy weight approach in Leicester.
Amy Hathway & Ben Austin, Public Health & Health Improvement, Leicester City Council
Find out more about the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight here.