Plans to end obesity crisis in Hartlepool after childhood health issues ranked among worst in country

Stopping Hartlepool’s ticking obesity time bomb is the focus of a new approach aimed at making us healthier and happier.

Monday, 1st July 2019, 16:02 pm
Updated Monday, 1st July 2019, 16:45 pm
Tackling child obesity in Hartlepool has been made a top priority

Almost a third of reception school children in Hartlepool are overweight or obese (29.2%), making it the second worst in the country – and more than two thirds of adults in the town are in the same boat (70.4%).

The National Child Measurement Programme also found 40.59% of Year Six pupils in Hartlepool are classed as obese or overweight, the 13th highest in England.

Now members on Hartlepool Borough Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board have backed a new strategy, and urged the importance of everyone working together to adopt a preventative approach to the issue.

The committee’s healthy weight strategy is adopting a ‘whole systems approach’.

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Craig Blundred, deputy director of public health for the council, said everyone needs to come together to address the issue in the town.

He said: “It’s not simply about people eating too much or not moving enough, there are lots of external influences on that.

“We need to work together as a system so that we’re able to really make an impact because it’s a really big issue we have within the borough and town at the moment.

To date, the healthy weight strategy has helped developed a planning policy imposing restrictions on planning applications for takeaways, and helped provide sustainable transport campaigns throughout the town.

Obesity training has also been provided to a broad range of staff in the town.

The next steps for the strategy involve holding a workshop later this month to map out the provision of services, along with developing a ‘social movement’ to support the aims of the project.

Council leader Coun Shane Moore said the council will be looking at its leisure provision to try and provide the best possible facilities.

He said: “It will need a joint up approach to this. I know as part of this council’s priorities for the coming year we are looking at all of our outdoor play and sports provision, to try and encourage as many people as possible to get out there and stay active, it’s not just about what we eat.”