Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Motion - "Obesity"

Decision:

Resolved –

 

This Council supports and applauds the excellent work to promote healthy eating and good food awareness which already exists in our schools, Children’s Centres, Community Centres and youth organisation.

 

This Council is also pleased to be using the Government Sugar Smart initiative, and we are working hard to support the success of the sugar tax levy used to directly reward establishments involved in monitoring and limiting the amount of sugar products available.

 

We are one of the most proactive councils in London in terms of embracing initiatives in order to improve the lives of our residents.

 

However, this Council also recognises that the obesity agenda is now of major concern nationally.

 

Recent figures show Greenwich has a steadily rising percentage of children & young people with obesity, and therefore at risk of diabetes.

 

We recognise we need to take even more action to improve this situation.

 

This motion proposes that vending machines found in our Leisure Centres, libraries and community centres should contain only healthy snack options. Water and sugar free drinks and sugar free snacks.

 

This motion also asks that future high street developments need closer scrutiny in terms of number of fast food outlets and those establishments offering only sugar deserts on their menu.

 

This motion calls on Council to review policy in terms of these two major issues.

 

We cannot expect the excellent work in our schools alone to make the lifestyle differences unless we address the environment which provides too much easily accessible unhealthy food options.

Minutes:

Councillor Linda Bird moved the motion which she detailed.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor David Gardner.  As Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools he had visited many primary schools and he wished to pay tribute to all the schools that considered tackling obesity as a priority. He said there were plans to take forward, the recent initiative led by the Leader of the Council and Councillor Scott McDonald, to promote School Streets and that the month of May would be walk to school month. He said other schools were following the example of Charlton Manor School who were doing a brilliant job in terms of putting food at the heart of education. He advised it was entirely possible for children to have healthy diets that were also affordable but it was not just about food or exercise. It was also about having an environment that encouraged walking, where children felt safe to play in the streets, to go cycling, which very much meant there needed to be a focus on healthy streets as in the Mayor's draft transport strategy. He stated that the Council had to try again to overturn the Planning Inspector's decision that had thrown out the proposals in the Councilslast Core Strategy to stop having junk food outlets within 400 metres of schools.

 

Councillors Mehboob Khan, Mark James and Averil Lekau spoke in support of the motion. It was said that the Council might be able to learn from the successful work of Lewisham Councils progress towards the banning of junk food advertisement within their Borough. It was felt that obesity was an indicator of other factors of deprivation and targeted interventions were necessary in order to make rapid progress in the communities most affected. It was suggested that in order to bring about behavioural change, peers and community leaders needed to work with the Council to make change happen from within those communities. It was said that there were a number of cross cutting themes that contributed to a successful healthy weight strategy which as part of the Live Well Greenwich process, included infant nutrition, accessibility of healthy food, journeys by foot and bike, the physical environment and supporting people to be active. It was noted that GS Plus was providing gold standard Food for Life accredited school meals to schools within the Borough but regrettably some academies had moved away from engaging their services. That notwithstanding the financial pressures faced there are positive signs in Greenwich of measures to tackle this major health crisis notwithstanding the financial pressures that this Authority faces Greenwich.

 

Councillor Charlie Davis stated that the Conservative Group agreed with the sentiment behind the motion. He said it was important the Council took seriously the challenge it faced and considered everything within its power to tackle the rising obesity levels amongst children and young people in Greenwich. He reminded Members that a motion was passed 13 months ago in support of the sugar smart Greenwich campaign which a number of leisure centres within the Borough had been found not to be complying with, which suggested a need to implement a new 360 approach to get to the root of the issue. He felt the policy reviews proposed in the motion should act as a strand of the Councils approach to tackling childhood obesity but in themselves would not be effective in combating obesity levels within the Borough. He emphasised that the Council needed to look at the broader picture on the issue and adopt a two-pronged approach that would not only focus on getting children to eat healthily but combined with other ideas and initiatives including getting children to lead more active lives.

 

Councillor Linda Bird formally closed the debate.

 

The motion was put to the vote and it was

 

Resolved

 

This Council supports and applauds the excellent work to promote healthy eating and good food awareness which already exists in our schools, Childrens Centres, Community Centres and youth organisation.

 

This Council is also pleased to be using the Government Sugar Smart initiative, and we are working hard to support the success of the sugar tax levy used to directly reward establishments involved in monitoring and limiting the amount of sugar products available.

 

We are one of the most proactive councils in London in terms of embracing initiatives in order to improve the lives of our residents.

 

However, this Council also recognises that the obesity agenda is now of major concern nationally.

 

Recent figures show Greenwich has a steadily rising percentage of children & young people with obesity, and therefore at risk of diabetes.

 

We recognise we need to take even more action to improve this situation.

 

This motion proposes that vending machines found in our Leisure Centres, libraries and community centres should contain only healthy snack options. Water and sugar free drinks and sugar free snacks.

 

This motion also asks that future high street developments need closer scrutiny in terms of number of fast food outlets and those establishments offering only sugar deserts on their menu.

 

This motion calls on Council to review policy in terms of these two major issues.

 

We cannot expect the excellent work in our schools alone to make the lifestyle differences unless we address the environment which provides too much easily accessible unhealthy food options.

Supporting documents: