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Place and planning

Why is this a priority?

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is not solely a matter of individual choice. Where we live, learn, work, and play influences how easy or difficult it is to maintain a healthy weight. We need to shape places that support people's ability to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, making healthier choices easier.

Local government has a duty to promote the health of its population and planners have a key role to play, but we also need to harness the knowledge and experience of elected members and local communities to understand what matters to them, what they think makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight, and what needs to change.

We want to tackle the 'obesity promoting' environments in which many of our citizens live and create an environment that supports a healthy life. We want to build healthy eating and physical activity into people's everyday lives by increasing, amongst other things, accessibility to healthy foods, active travel options, safe play, and access to leisure facilities, including the great outdoors.

Outcomes

  • Our environments are planned well to promote eating well and moving more
  • Residents and visitors take advantage of our leisure opportunities, including parks, green spaces, waterways,and forests.

Key actions

Planning and environment (Public Health England, 2017)

Eat Well Be Active shares common agendas with planners and regulatory services, such as the availability of healthy food choices, access to physical activity, and the quality of public spaces. These shared priorities create valuable opportunities for collaboration and members of the Eat Well Be Active Reference Group will initiate the discussion about what is possible.

Active Travel (Public Health England, 2017)

There has been a major decline in walking and cycling in the last fifty years, and an increased reliance on cars. This decline in active travel is reflected in the increase in the proportion of overweight, obese and inactive people. Return on investment examples show that for every £1 spent on cycling provision the NHS saves £4 on health costs. Similarly, a walking for health project demonstrated an £8 return on a £1 investment.

The Eat Well Be Active Reference Group will explore the regulatory and policy approaches that are being, or could be taken locally and initiate the discussion about what is possible.

Air Quality (Local Government Association, 2017)

Air pollution is increasingly associated with a number of adverse health impacts. It is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions. There is also often a strong correlation with equalities issues, because areas with poor air quality are also often the less affluent areas. Concern regarding poor air quality can also raise anxiety and negatively impact on emotional wellbeing.

Parks and green spaces

Parks are the most frequently visited type of green space - representing 90 per cent of overall green space use. In Cheshire West and Chester we have many good quality parks, green spaces, forest and waterways and we will encourage our residents to make best use of them.

Leisure and culture

Access to appropriate leisure opportunities is a key factor in the prevention and management of obesity. Libraries and other community venues are important sources of information and signposting to local leisure opportunities and support services. They can also play a greater role in bringing activity into new places and community settings. In addition, the use of the internet to find out 'what's on' is also important.

Indicators

  • Utilisation of green space for exercise/health
  • Child excess weight (four - five year olds) (percentage of children classified as overweight or obese)
  • Child excess weight (10-11 year olds) (percentage of children classified as overweight or obese)
  • Excess weight in adults
  • Proportion of physically active and inactive adults.

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