Report of the Director of Public Health
The Committee received the six monthly monitoring report into the review of children’s healthy weight in Gateshead. As an outcome of the review a number of recommendations were agreed by the Committee, an update on progress against these recommendations was provided.
Gateshead has been selected to pre-test the whole system guide and set of resources produced by Public Health England to support local authorities to implement a whole systems approach to address obesity. Therefore, a series of healthy weight workshops have been held, led by Public Health and attended by a number of stakeholders. An action plan is currently being worked on, looking at issues such as transport and community safety and raising awareness to encourage healthy weight. It was noted that the action plan will be shared with the Committee when the next update report is brought back. The next workshop will be held in February, this will continue to bring together stakeholders to identify areas to intervene in the system to affect change with short term and longer term actions.
The review recommended the creation of a strategic steering group to consider the vision for a healthy weight generation for Gateshead and to decide priorities. Since completion of the review, the Gateshead Healthy Weight Alliance has been formed to provide the strategic direction of the healthy weight agenda in Gateshead. It was noted that at the next workshop the operational group will be formed which will carry out work on the ground.
A further recommendation from the review was to focus on strategies to address the healthy weight agenda across the social gradient, thus focussing on inequalities. Progress in this area has been seen through the regional work led by CNTW in developing a plan for people with lived experience of mental health conditions to support them maintain a healthy weight. It was also reported that the 0-19 years service has appointed a dedicated infant feeding and nutrition lead, to provide a focus for breastfeeding, weaning and nutrition in early years. Work is ongoing with the Regional Local Maternity Systems Co-ordinator around the Obesity in Pregnancy Self-Assessment Tool, to work with mothers pre and post partum. Work has also been undertaken by the QE hospital paediatrician to measure BMI in two year old children, this allows early identification of those children who need additional support.
One of the recommendations which came out of the review was to establish a healthy weight declaration for Gateshead, working with partners to understand the contribution of each partner and ensure commitment to action through a multi-agency partnership. It was reported that Gateshead are one of the first areas regionally to sign up to the Healthy Weight Declaration. The declaration is focused on population level interventions to address social, environmental and legislative factors that affect people’s ability to change their behaviour. The declaration includes 14 standard commitments which is a good way to demonstrate local authorities commitment and ensures a consistent approach. Six local commitments will be prioritised for the declaration, a consultation will be carried out in the new year to identify these.
There was a recommendation to achieve a balance between population level measures and more targeted interventions. This is around the universal offer and those people disproportionately targeted. Gateshead is supporting the regional daily mile programme, 30% of Gateshead schools are engaged which is aligned with the school sport partnership. Work is ongoing with planning and Newcastle University to improve understanding of the link between green infrastructure and health and wellbeing at a local level. This work is due to be completed by February 2020. In addition, workplace interventions have taken place and this includes only sugar free drinks being made available in all council facilities, discussions are also in place to implement healthy alternatives in vending machines.
The point was made that there seems to be a tension for the Council in terms of needing to derive income from business rates which may not necessarily be in line with the tackling obesity agenda. It was confirmed that there is a balance between benefits in terms of economic development and how it impacts on the health and wellbeing of the population. Since 2015 planning permission has not been given for hot food outlets in areas where there is over 10% childhood obesity.
It was questioned what the mapping of local systems showed. It was confirmed that this showed a complex picture, causal mapping was carried out to look for the root causes and this revealed various factors that cause obesity. It showed what needs to be tackled going forward over the 9-15 month process. It was requested that an example of the mapping be brought back to Committee with the next update report in April.
RESOLVED - (i) That the Committee noted the update of the healthy
weight review 6 monthly update.
(ii) That Committee agreed to receive a further update in
six month’s time when the recommendations will have been progressed further.