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LGA response to Health Committee report on physical activity and diet

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board responded to a Health Committee report on obesity, diet, and physical activity.

"Councils are pulling out all the stops to tackle the country's obesity epidemic and are putting physical activity at the heart of their planning, leisure and health promotion work.

For example, planning strategies now include measures to increase cycling and walking routes and introduce sustainable green spaces in new developments. Local authorities are also doing everything they can to ensure that people have access to affordable, nutritious food. This includes supporting weight management and healthy eating programmes.

"However, councils are doing this in the face of unprecedented budget constraints across the board. They have a finite public health budget and many competing priorities, some of which are mandatory. It is imperative the next government prioritises prevention, health promotion and early intervention and – crucially – provides the resources to make it happen.

"This is why the LGA is calling for a slice of existing VAT raised on sweets, crisps, takeaway food and sugary drinks to go to boost council-run grassroots initiatives to significantly ramp up their efforts, benefiting millions more. Local authorities are currently commissioning weight management services, exercise referral schemes and extending the offer of free or reduced-cost physical activity programmes – for example swimming – and leisure facilities. Additional funding would enable us to do so much more to reverse the tide of obesity which threatens to make the next generation the first to live shorter lives than their parents."

Contact

Matthew Cooper, Senior Media Officer
Local Government Association
Telephone: 020 7664 3007
Email: matthew.cooper@local.gov.uk
Media Office (out-of-hours contact): 020 7664 3333
Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ

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