New tools to support system-wide approaches to healthier weight

by Beth Bradshaw | 27 June, 2023 11:00 am

Food Active are delighted to officially launch new tools to support system-wide approaches to healthier weight, as part of the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight.

The NHS Healthy Weight Declaration and Schools Pledge for a Healthy and Active Future have undergone a series of pilots and are now being launched alongside a suite of support materials as part of a Food Active webinar today.

What is the NHS Healthy Weight Declaration?

The NHS Declaration provides a mechanism for organisations to signal their commitment and demonstrate leadership in promoting healthy weight to patients, staff, visitors and the wider community. It a enables a range of NHS organisations to develop a framework and coordinated approach, working in partnership across organisational boundaries to reduce the prevalence of unhealthy weight supporting prevention and commitments within the NHS Long Term plan. It also facilitates opportunities for NHS organisations to work alongside local authorities and wider partners in supporting a whole systems approach.

The declaration consists of a set of commitments whereby NHS organisations pledge support to achieve action on improving policy, and practice that will influence healthy weight outcomes. f. The commitments have been developed) following a review of the current evidence taking into account the impact of prevention in improving health, inequalities, healthy life expectancy and the economic impact resulting from a reduction in obesity and associated chronic disease; In addition to this consultation with stakeholders from across NHS organisations in the South-West of England including partners from within academia, local authorities, NHS England and Public Health England (now OHID), was also undertaken.


What resources are available?

To support Trusts, in adopting and implementing the declaration an evidence briefing has been developed underpinning the commitments and providing a rationale to taking action. In addition, a support pack has also been produced to guide trusts through the process of adopting, containing:

As a brief introduction to the resource, you can explore the NHS HWD ‘how to’ guide below.



What about the Schools Pledge?

The PHAF is also designed to support system-wide approaches to healthier weight,  schools will be pledging to support their local authority’s Healthy Weight Declaration, whilst working towards a set of 12 commitments.  The commitments  are designed to promote a school environment that promotes healthy choices, making it easier for  pupils to eat well  and be active during the school day. The commitments were co-developed with a group of schools and designed to be high-level and achievable, but also impactful.

The pledge aims to bring staff, pupils and parents together for a common vison. It can help demonstrate to parents  the importance of particular school  policies that  promote healthier weight. For example: to provide a rationale for adopting a healthy birthday policy; why schools have challenged ice cream vans parking outside the school gates; or, why more physically actively learning has been introduced as part of the school day. It can also be an opportunity to build on, highlight and celebrate existing work already taking place in a school that is supportive of health and well-being, such as participation in sport or engagement with the Healthy Schools Programme.

The PHAF is also supplemented by a Support Pack, which includes:

In addition to the above,  a guide for Local Authorities to engage and support schools in adoption of the PHAF is also available.

An executive summary of the pledge can be found below.


How was it developed?

The initial concept of the Pledge was how can local authorities engage schools in the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight. Food Active and the Health and Wellbeing Service at Leeds City Council set out to develop a schools-version of the Declaration, initially co-developing a range of commitments with a group of schools.

A full Support Pack and implementation guide was developed, and then tested across a 12-month period in a pilot with three schools across Leeds. The pilot included regular catch-up meetings between the schools to share their progress and feedback on the pledge.

One school successfully adopted the pledge last year, hosting a fantastic launch event with a market stall of school meal tasters, DIY fruit skewer station, games and activities and much more. You can read more about the launch here[1].

Following the pilot, an evaluation was conducted with the schools to gather their feedback and thoughts. This was used to inform a final iteration of the support pack and associated materials, which have now been officially launched.


How can we find out more about the NHS HWD and Schools Pledge?

You can listen back to the launch webinar below.

Or you can access slides from the session below.

To find out more about accessing the Pledge, NHS HWD or the Local Authority HWD, please contact[2]


  1. here:

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