Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham has cosigned a letter calling on the government to tackle childhood obesity. Even though there is a childhood obesity crisis across the nation, Barking and Dagenham have one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in London. According to the NHS one in four of year 6 pupils in this borough were considered obese. Due to the seriousness of this issue, Jon has joined Cancer Research and the Obesity Health Alliance in calling on the government to take action.
You can read the letter to the Prime Minister in full HERE
Advertising can be a large influence on children, and many advertisements are skewed to more unhealthy products. The letter calls on the government to take further steps to close existing loopholes and actively reduce exposure to junk food marketing.
Both local authorities in Jon Cruddas' constituency are working to fight rising concerns with obesity. Barking and Dagenham Council recently implemented a program entitled HENRY - health, exercise and nutrition for the really young - which is a nine-week program that offers parents of children under the age of five a chance to gain skills and confidence to address lifestyle issues in a group environment. This program focuses on five areas of risk: the influence of parents, family habits, emotional wellbeing, healthy eating, and physical activity. The program imparts the importance of eating as a family and teaches parents how to cook healthy alternatives to their favourite foods. This program has been proven to be successful and will be coming back for more sessions.
The borough of Havering has set into place a Prevention of Obesity Strategy which focuses on shaping a child's environment from a young age to promote healthy eating and physical activity as well as supporting a culture that sees physical activity and healthy eating as the norm. Find out more HERE
Although these steps have helped address the childhood obesity issue in the local area to an extent, more needs to be done which is why Jon Cruddas has joined calls for further government intervention. When the letter is submitted there will be a further update.