Leeds City Council signs up to the Local Government Declaration on Healthy Weight

Leeds City Council signs up to the Local Government Declaration on Healthy Weight

Leeds City Council have become the first local authority outside of the North West to adopt the Local Government Declaration on Healthy Weight, in a bid to help tackle obesity in the city.

Organisations and individuals are being encouraged to play their part in helping Leeds become healthier by signing a pledge to promote healthy weight.

In Leeds, around one in ten children in reception year, one in five children in year five and a quarter of adults are obese, highlighting why being a healthy weight is a key challenge for the city.

In September 2018, Leeds City Council was the first local authority in Yorkshire to formally adopt the Healthy Weight Declaration. The declaration is a council commitment to promote healthy weight across all areas of the organisation with the aim of improving the health and wellbeing of the local population.

The declaration includes 14 standard commitments and six local priorities, and provides the rationale and platform to raise awareness and deliver on the importance of healthy weight and supporting local people to be a healthy weight in a variety of ways. Food Active developed and launched the Declaration in 2015, with the total number of local authorities signed up reaching a total of 16 across the North of England – with many more to come in 2019.

At a meeting arranged to share opportunities for improving active lifestyles and encourage healthy eating with city partners, Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Executive Member for Adults and Health, highlighted the commitment of elected members to the Declaration.

Dr Ian Cameron, Director of Public Health, explained how healthy weight is an important factor for overall health. This was echoed by Robin Ireland, Director of Research at the Health Equalities Group, and originator of the Healthy Weight Declaration.

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“We know people understand the health problems that can come from being an unhealthy weight, so we are looking at how the council can support people better who want to have more active lifestyles and make healthier choices around food. We want to make a healthy option the easy option, and sometimes that’s not the case in the city.

“The declaration provides a basis for conversations with our partners in health, education, business and voluntary sector. And I’m glad we have made progress promoting healthier lifestyles in recent years. We want to be the best city for health and wellbeing and this forms an important part of that work.”

Dr Ian Cameron, Director of Public Health for Leeds, said:

“Reducing obesity is a helpful indicator we use to measure the progress we make helping people live longer, healthier lives. In common with other areas, we still have more to do and that is why it remains such an important part of the health and wellbeing strategy for the city.”

Robin Ireland highlighted some of the ethical challenges that face councils and local areas, as they face the challenge of encouraging healthy lifestyles, while under financial pressure to make use of offers from fast food providers and to explain why they are making decisions which will impact on healthy weight. He said:

“Having the full weight of a council behind decisions can make a real difference when facing up to pressures which lead to unhealthy decisions being made that can have a negative long-term impact on people’s lives. I’m delighted with the efforts being made in Leeds and really look forward to seeing the positive impact of what you are doing in the years to come.”

Read the press release here

If you are interested in finding out more about the Healthy Weight Declaration, please contact info@foodactive.org.uk

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