North Kesteven District Council is just one of four UK local authorities selected from 60 bids to participate in a three-year pilot sacheme to tackle obesity.
At a breakfast launch this morning, it was announced as the only district council to be involved, selected for its proactive, forward-thinking approach to tackling the growing national obesity crisis.
The other three councils are Durham and Gloucestershire county councils and the London Borough of Lewisham and North Kesteven is working with a project team from Leeds Beckett University (the leading university in this type of research) headed up by Prof Paul Gately, and a range of other partners to understand what strategies to tackle with obesity in the area are working well and what opportunities may be being missed to take things even further.The council is just about to launch its own sports and physical activity strategy which will drive the way it focusses its efforts with health and wellbeing in the future, incorporating its newly refurbished leisure centres, healthy walks scheme, Spires and Steeples Trail, cultural programme and community outreach schemes promoting healthy eating.
The launch event saw invited partners and delegates including Lincolnshire County Council, William Alvey School, The farm Kitchen school meals provider, Lincolnshire Co-op and South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
The partners will look at what is within their powers to take action to influence the problem of obesity. Rather than focussing on the health service costs, Prof Gately said there were far greater ares of impact such as employment, the economy, families and society.
He said: “I argue obesity is not a choice, it is a consequence and there are a lot of factors that drive health inequalities.” He said in many cases it related to people having mental conditions or trauma.
He said: “There is no magic bullet, but where can you influence things locally?”
What is established in the pilot, commissioned by Public Health England, can be replicated elsewhere by influencing government policy.
NKDC chief Executive Ian Fytche said in his introduction: “Two out of three adults in North Kesteven are overweight or obese. Match that to the number of under 11s that are overweight and we see the challenge that Lincolnshire as a whole faces.” He said this new project would see organisations work together to fight this issue.
In this video, Mr Fytche and Prof Gately talk about the launch of the pilot scheme.
○ Read more on this in next Wednesday’s Sleaford Standard.