#FoodActive2018 welcomes delegates to ‘Childhood Obesity: Let’s Start at the Very Beginning’

#FoodActive2018 welcomes delegates to ‘Childhood Obesity: Let’s Start at the Very Beginning’

Food Active welcomes over 80 delegates to Central Manchester today, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of tackling obesity from pre-pregnancy to pre-school.

The conference, titled ‘Childhood Obesity: Let’s Start at the Very Beginning’, will be held at Bridge 5 Mill in Manchester today, in response to the lack of focus on maternal and early years in the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan, published earlier in the summer.

With almost one quarter of the children in the North West starting reception year overweight or obese it is clear that early intervention is key. The Government published the second chapter of it’s childhood obesity strategy in June, which included a number of actions we are very supportive of, in particular the consultations on the promotion of HFSS foods in stores, advertising and marketing on TV and online, and the prohibition of sales of energy drinks to minors – however we were struck by the lack of focus on the early years.

Behaviours that take place even before a child is conceived affect their likelihood of carrying excess weight in the future, furthermore children’s food preferences and eating habits are formed early in life, which provides not only an opportunity to promote healthy weight during the early years but is an ideal window of opportunity to shape healthy long-term behaviours. Therefore, we have organised a conference to bring together experts in maternal and early years nutrition, the food environment and examples of good practice from across the UK to highlight the importance of these stages in preventing obesity. We will also be facilitating a two-part workshop, which will give us an opportunity to hear from delegates what they think are the key local and national actions required to promote healthy weight in the maternal and early years.

We have a fantastic line up of speakers and experts in the field, including:

  • Dr. Julie Abayomi, Reader of Dietetics, Liverpool John Moores University
  • Dr. Sara Ahern, Research Fellow, Born in Bradford
  • Dierdre de Barra, Head of Information, Tommy’s Midwvies
  • Dr. Emma Boyland, Psychologist, University of Liverpool
  • Nicky Dennison, Child Obesity and Physical Activity Programme Manager, Public Health England
  • Professor Jason Halford, Head of Deparment, University of Liverpool
  • Dr Julie Lanigan, Principle Research Fellow, University College London
  • Gill Thornton, Head of Programme, Better Start Bradford

Dr. Sandra Davies, Director of Public Health at Liverpool City Council, will be chairing the event.

We will be tweeting about the conference throughout the course of the day, using the hashtag #FoodActive2018 and presentations, summaries and an event report will be published on the Food Active website in due course.

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