Derby City Council commits to making healthy choices easier for everyone

by Beth Bradshaw | 28 May, 2024 9:00 am

Derby City Council is the latest local authority in England to adopt the Local Authority Healthy Weight Declaration, to highlight the council’s commitment to helping improve the health and wellbeing of its citizens.

Derby has become the second authority in the East Midlands, after Leicester, to sign the declaration. It reinforces the Council’s dedication to tackling the rising challenge of obesity and exploring ways to make positive changes across our departments.

By making these changes, we aim to improve the accessibility, availability and affordability of healthier food and drink, as well as creating opportunities to move more. Derby City Council Chief Executive, Paul Simpson, together with Dr Robyn Dewis, the city’s Director of Public Health, and Councillor Alison Martin, Cabinet Member for Integrated Health and Adult Care, met with representatives from Food Active to put the Council’s commitment in writing.

Councillor Martin said:

“We need to do all we can to help people make healthier choices to improve their health and wellbeing. It’s hugely important for individuals but also for wider society, as it helps reduce the pressure on our health services. People’s surroundings and personal circumstances can make it more difficult. To make the healthy choice the easy choice, we need safe and open spaces to be active in, and we need low-cost, healthier foods to be available where we live. Our declaration includes commitments that will make it easier for people in the city to eat well and move more. It will help shine a light on the importance of key activities within different Council departments and also help complement our work with our city partners as we strive to create a healthier Derby.”

In 2022/23, 19.7% of children in Derby started school with overweight or obesity, with this proportion increasing to 40.4% amongst Year 6 children compared to 36.6% nationally. In the same period, 38.1% of children aged 5-16 met the recommendation of an average of 60 minutes of moderate to rigorous activity per day across the week in Derby. This is compared to 49% in the East Midlands and 47% in England.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 adults in the UK lives with obesity. Maintaining a health weight can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. It can also help to improve mental health, sleep patterns, energy levels and relationships.

Derby’s declaration will build on the work already supported by the Council to improve citizens’ health and wellbeing. Citizens can get help to lose weight and be active through the Livewell service and Move More Derby, and more help is available through Derby County Community Trust’s health programmes along with our Family Hubs.

The Healthy Weight Declaration, which was developed by North West-based charity Food Active, was first adopted by Blackpool Council in 2016, where it has been shown to have made a positive impact on policy at local authority level. Dozens of local authorities across the country have now adopted it.

Dr Robin Ireland, Research Director at Food Active and the lead for the project, said:

Congratulations to Derby City Council for taking this stand. We all know how difficult it is to make the right choices when we are surrounded by unhealthy food, the wrong advertising messages and when sugary drinks are cheaper than water. I am delighted that Derby City Council is doing everything they can to help their residents, workers and pupils eat more healthily.

For more details on the Local Government Declaration on Healthy Weight visit the Food Active website.

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