District helps make a guide to tackle obesity problems

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Public Health England has published a new guide to implementing a comprehensive approach to tackling obesity, thanks to a three-year development programme with North Kesteven District Council.

The new approach has been devised with partners at Leeds Beckett University, the Association of Directors of Public Health, and the Local Government Association.

Actions taken through implementing the guide can range from individual programmes to encourage healthier lifestyles to supporting the provision of healthier food options in schools and high streets and the creation and use of more green space for activity.

Obesity is a complex problem with no single solution and is a leading cause of ill-health in England. A local whole systems approach provides an overarching strategy to bring different organisations – including the local authority, the NHS, local businesses, communities and the voluntary sector – together to encourage better diets, promote physical activity and a healthy weight in their community.

This encourages policies and actions across sectors, including planning, housing, transport, services, business and health.

North Kesteven District Council was a pilot on the programme, with three other local authorities. The work has helped develop the guide and resources, which are now available to support authorities and their partners across the country.

Leader of NKDC, Richard Wright, said: “The work we have done is not a quick fix, but should have far-reaching effects. It is a project that is very much a work in progress.

“It is clear that no one organisation has all the answers or all the responsibility to tackle obesity and promote a healthy weight. It is everybody’s business and through partnership we will achieve more together.”