Liverpool has signed up to plans to cut obesity and heart disease.
Nearly two thirds of people in the city are overweight or obese, and almost one in three children do not have a healthy weight.
Now Liverpool City Council and Liverpool CCG are signing up to the Local Government Declaration on Healthy Weight, developed by charity Food Active in partnership with Directors of Public Health. It is being launched at Blackburne House on Tuesday 13 November.
The pledge includes 14 commitments which local authorities are asked to sign up to and be accountable for.
• Engaging with local manufacturers, retailers and caterers to encourage them to offer and promote healthier food and drink options
• Making healthy food and drink more available in public buildings
• Protecting children from inappropriate marketing such as advertising and marketing in close proximity to schools; ‘giveaways’ and promotions within schools and at events on local authority controlled sites
Liverpool has also identified four other local priorities:
Children and young people – promote healthy weight and increase physical activity for children and young people through up to the age of 19, and the uptake of breastfeeding for babies
Campaigns – undertake behavioural insight work and social marketing campaigns to raise awareness and change behaviour to promote healthy weight (building on the success of Save Kids from Sugar)
Communities – work with local communities to mobilise demand for healthy environments and food choices
Training – all frontline staff in health and social care to have training in giving advice, to provide consistent messages about healthy weight
Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, Dr Sandra Davies, said: “Obesity is a complex issue with many causes, including our behaviour, environment, genetics and culture.
“The figures are stark. Nearly two thirds of our local population are overweight or obese, a figure similar to the national average. Nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese. Younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer.
“Unhealthy weight is a risk factor for a range of diseases including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Obesity can also reduce life expectancy by up to a decade, as well as causing many years of ill health and loss of independence.
“We are going to have to work together right across our city and consider making some very bold changes if we want to stop this epidemic of obesity from growing.
“We will have to do more than just change our behaviours. We will also have to change our physical and social environments in a way that supports and enables an improvement in health within our communities.”
Councillor Paul Brant, Cabinet member for public health, said: “Liverpool City Council recognises the importance of healthy weight to a thriving population and a vibrant city.
“In Liverpool one in five children start school overweight or obese and one third of children leave primary school overweight or obese, and these rates are increasing. We are committed to overturning these figures and to promoting a healthy weight for all of our residents through action on healthy eating and promoting increased physical activity.
“Liverpool has championed a successful “Fit for Me Campaign” through its Physical Activity and Sports Strategy, and will take action to promote healthier eating, by signing up to this Local Authority Healthy Weight Declaration, supported by our local NHS partners.
“Our Healthy Weight Declaration is an excellent opportunity to unite partners in the city, through the Council’s leadership on healthy weight as well as health and wellbeing in general.
“We will work with residents, schools, businesses and other organisations. Signing this pledge signals a determination to work together supporting local communities to make healthier lifestyle choices easier.”
Fiona Lemmens, a Liverpool GP and Chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “As part of the local NHS commitment to supporting the Healthy Weight Declaration, 11 local NHS organisations will be signing an NHS Partner Pledge, demonstrating support for Liverpool City Council and neighbouring local authorities in taking this approach to reducing unhealthy weight in our communities.
“The pledge confirms our commitment as NHS partners to adopting a range of preventative polices which will help protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, patients and visitors, and improve the health of our population.”
Also being launched at the event is a Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Strategy.
It is focused on tackling the five key factors that have the biggest impact in preventing heart attacks, strokes and related conditions – diet, smoking, physical activity, alcohol and mental wellbeing.
It also highlights the need for improved clinical care in high risk conditions (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and atrial fibrillation) where late diagnosis and condition management remains common.
The aim is to place more emphasis on actions that promote the conditions for good health rather than simply improving Liverpool’s ability to respond to disease.