Health chiefs draw up battle plan to tackle childhood obesity in Hartlepool

The Healthy Weight, Healthy Life- Tackling Obesity conference underway.
The Healthy Weight, Healthy Life- Tackling Obesity conference underway.

A NEW strategy dedicated to tackling childhood obesity in Hartlepool is to be developed.

Hartlepool’s Health and Wellbeing Board has identified the issue obesity as one of its top priorities.

Significant amount of information obtained

Louise Wallace, Director of Public Health

A quarter of the town’s reception age children are carrying excess weight.

The strategy will be developed following positive feedback from delegates who attended a conference on the issue last month.

A total of 72 delegates attended the Healthy Weight, Healthy Life – Tackling Obesity in Hartlepool at the Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning (CETL) in Brierton Lane.

They included Hartlepool councillors and officers, residents, and representatives of GPs, Hartlepool Healthwatch, health commissioners and voluntary and community organisations.

A report presented to Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board by town Director of Public Health Louise Wallace, stated: “A significant amount of information and evidence has been obtained from the discussions and activities held as part of a ‘cafe’ session and each of the workshops.”

Speakers on the day included Dr Louisa Ells, a specialist advisor to Public Health England; Emma Mead from the Health and Social Care Institute and Steven Carter Hartlepool council’s health improvement practitioner.

Students from schools and colleges play their part and a video produced by Hartlepool’s Young Inspectors went down very well.

Comments left by those who attended about the event included “very interesting discussion and debate and I think this will lead to some worthwhile actions.”

Another delegate said: “Excellent day. Especially the young people’s workshop. What a shining example of great young people.”

Others felt there was to much to fit into just one day and did not get the chance to attend all the workshops, covering different aspects of obesity, that they wanted to.

Ms Wallace said feedback from the conference supported the need for the Childhood Obesity Strategy to be a key priority.

The role GPs and primary care play in tackling obesity will also be looked at going forward.

The variety of activities already in place that can help tackle the problem will also be recognised when looking at how to improve the situation.

A draft strategy is due to be presented to the health and Wellbeing Board in June before an action plan is created.

Latest figures showed 25.1 per cent of Hartlepool reception children are classed as either overweight or obese, but that number rockets to 38 per cent for children in Year 6.