To introduce the Healthy Weight Declaration and propose that the Health and Wellbeing Board supports the adoption of the Declaration.
The Covid-19 pandemic had put the obesity epidemic once again into the spotlight by evidence of the link to an increased risk from Covid-19. Living with excess weight put people at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19. Evidence suggested that whilst more people had exercised during lockdown, the nation’s exercise levels had not increased overall and snack food and alcohol sales had increased substantially. In response the Government had launched a new obesity strategy in July 2020 the Better Health campaign.
Tackling obesity was one of the greatest long-term health challenges and one of the most important factors in improving the health of the population. Obesity is the result of complex relationships between genetic, socioeconomic, and cultural influences and as a result requires a whole systems approach, across the lifecourse to address the root causes. The Board had previously established a Healthy Weight Alliance to bring together partners to develop a plan to address obesity at a population level across the borough.
The Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight had been developed by Food Active, a charitable organisation established to support organizations and their partners to take action to prevent excess weight and secure the health and wellbeing of the population. The Declaration was a strategic, system-wide commitment to tackling excess weight and physical inactivity. It was suggested that it could provide an effective platform and framework to deliver the Health Weight Alliance’s plan.
The declaration comprised 16 standard commitments which were designed to be bold but achievable, with the opportunity for areas to make further local commitments to supplement the declaration if they wish. The 16 commitments are grouped under the following headings:
• Strategic / System Leadership
• Commercial Determinants
• Health Promoting Infrastructure / Environments
• Organisational Change / Culture Shift
• Monitoring & Evaluation
A Healthy Weight Alliance workshop had been held on the 27 July 2021 with partners across the system led by the public health team and chaired by the Councillor Karen Clark, setting out the context and challenges of tackling obesity in North Tyneside and outlining the benefits of adopting the Declaration. The proposal to adopt the Declaration was well received by partners and gained overwhelming support. In addition, Northumbria Healthcare Trust (NHCT) also expressed an interest in adopting the Declaration, which would support their work as an Active Hospital. The intention was to aim for a joint launch event with the Trust in January 2022.
The Board considered how the Declaration could complement the Better Health Work Award and North Tyneside CCG’s How Fit campaign.
Resolved that (1) the Board take a lead role, through the work of the Healthy Weight Alliance, in ensuring there is a whole systems approach to preventing excess weight by addressing both the obesogenic environment in which we all live, as well as supporting individuals; and
(2) the Board encourages and supports North Tyneside Council and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust to adopt the Healthy Weight Declaration and achieve its 16 commitments; and
(3) the Board continues to oversee the delivery of the Healthy Weight Alliance’s plan to address obesity at a population level across the borough.