LGA responds to latest childhood obesity figures

8 Nov 2016 09:56 AM

Chairman of the LGA's Community Wellbeing Board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, responds to NHS Digital figures for the National Child Measurement Programme 2015/16.

"These figures are a stark reminder of the urgent childhood obesity crisis that we face as a nation, and the need for decisive, radical action.

"Today's obese children will be tomorrow's obese adults, and with this comes a range of costly and debilitating major health conditions that could bankrupt adult social care and NHS services.

"The LGA has long called for fundamental reforms, such as a mandatory reduction of sugar in soft drinks, better sugar labelling on food and drink products, calorie counts on menus in chain restaurants, and for councils to be given powers to ban junk food advertising near schools.

"We believe that these measures, which would help to promote greater individual responsibility, could help to significantly reduce childhood obesity.

"Councils will have spent £505 million tackling obesity since they took over responsibility for public health in 2013, which includes approximately £107 million on running the National Child Measurement Programme.

"But the recent cuts by government to council public health budgets, will only make it harder for councils to fight obesity."

Notes to editors

1. Healthy weight, healthy futures: Local government action to tackle childhood obesity 

2. A study by McKinsey and Company in 2014 estimated that obesity was a greater burden on the UK's economy than armed violence, war and terrorism, costing the country nearly £47 billion a year. The report found that obesity has the second-largest economic impact on the UK behind smoking, generating an annual loss equivalent to 3 per cent of GDP. The cost of obesity and overweight conditions could increase from between £6 billion and £8 billion in 2015 to between £10 billion and £12 billion in 2030.

3. Government has reduced councils' public health grant by £331 million from 2016/17 to 2020/21. This follows a £200 million in-year reduction in 2015/16.