A crackdown on fatty foods and energy drinks has been launched in York the week before Christmas – in a bid to beat obesity.
One in three 11-year-olds in the city are now overweight – and almost two thirds of adults.
And yesterday City of York Council signed up to a national strategy to encourage people to eat healthier and exercise more.
It means the council will urge the city’s cafes and shops to sell healthier food or smaller portions.
The authority will also make it difficult for fast-food outlets to open near schools and stop unhealthy food from being advertised to children.
Services not sufficient
A quarter of five-year-olds in York are already overweight – according to a report for a council meeting yesterday, Tuesday.
It says: “The York Health and Wellbeing Board has discussed healthy weight issues in the city on a number of occasions and has recognised the need for a whole system approach.
“This acknowledges that services to help educate and support people to lose weight are necessary but not sufficient to tackle the scale of the problem.”
Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, Cllr Carol Runciman and the council’s director of public health Sharon Stoltz signed the Declaration on Healthy Weight yesterday.
Under the plans, the council will discourage shops from selling high energy drinks to under 18s, encourage more people to exercise and review the food and drink on offer in public buildings – making it easier and cheaper for people to choose healthy options.
Cllr Ian Cuthbertson said:
Healthy eating advice is important, but we know that the modern food environment doesn’t always make it easy to opt for the healthy choice, or encourage us to take enough exercise.
We are signalling our ambition for York to be a place where people are helped to live at a healthy weight.
Obesity admissions double
The number of patients admitted to hospital in York because of obesity hasa more than doubled in the past three years.
The city saw a 125 per cent increase in patients with conditions directly related to being overweight, such as diabetes and heart disease..
A council report says: “The UK spends more on the treatment of obesity and diabetes every year than on the police, fire service and judicial system combined.
“There is strong evidence that childhood and adult obesity affects those living in deprived areas to a greater extent than those in affluent areas. A number of determinants of healthy weight, for example density of fast food outlets or access to green space, are also correlated with inequality.”
York has set itself five priorities – including getting more people to travel actively.
It will also aim to create an exercise plan for the city, to boost the health of council staff, to consider ways to cut obesity when making decisions about planning applications and, to promote healthy initiatives such as community food programmes.