Islington Council have introduced two ‘Healthy Children’s Centres’ to help tackle obesity in the area. Families can receive free advice on all aspects of health ranging from diet and exercise to quitting smoking.
According to NHS figures for 2010/2011, 11.7% of Islington Reception children were identified as obese, higher than the England average (9.4%), London (11.1%). While 14.8% of Islington Reception children were overweight, higher than England (13.2%) and London (12.4%).
Mandy Murdoch, an NHS public health strategist said: “The aim of the Healthy Children’s Centre programme is to support services to work together to improve health and wellbeing of children under 5 and their families. A large part of this programme is dedicated to ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives’ ensuring that children’s centres have policies and services in place to prevent and manage childhood obesity.”
Cllr Arthur Graves, who represents Junction Ward said: “Whether the centres are being set up in already used Children’s Centres and are in fact just a posh name for a room which is used by an obesity busting group for an hour or so, wouldn’t a better use for the cash be to visit Primary schools in the borough and talk to actual parents in those places where they already congregate?”
“Promoting healthy children’s centres won’t make an iota of difference – you need to educate parents of very young children into changing their eating habits in the home.”
“On the question about promoting the tackling of obesity, Islington seems to be doing all it can to promote driving at the moment, with Roamer and Free Parking being the Council’s main driver. Wouldn’t it be better to get people out of their cars and walking instead?”