Eat Well Be Active
A healthy, balanced diet, plenty of physical activity and being a healthy weight is particularly important in childhood. Children are living with obesity at earlier ages and staying obese for longer. As well as impacting on weight, a poor diet can lead to dental health issues, as well as problems with concentration and behaviour, potentially impacting attainment, and future life chances. We are also conscious of the fact that more children are also presenting as underweight and the impact that this can have on their physical and mental development. Approaching food, physical activity and body image in a stigma free way will support our children and young people to have positive relationships with food, activity, and their bodies, setting them on the right course for good health and wellbeing.
By supporting children and families to eat well and be active from the very early years can support heathy habits and behaviours for the future. Breastfeeding, healthy first foods, balanced meals, and correct portions, coupled with opportunities for active play and active travel can prevent excess weight gain in childhood and give children the best chance of reaching adulthood at a healthy weight. Supporting healthy weight during pregnancy is also important for improving outcomes for both mother and baby and is it important for this support to be available prior to pregnancy.
For Cheshire West and Chester, 60.2 percent of adults are overweight or living with obesity. Add to this further diet-related ill-health such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and dental decay. Supporting people to eat well is key to improving population health, increasing the number of individuals who are a healthy weight and reducing inequalities.
Most recent estimates suggest that approximately 18.8 percent of adults in Cheshire West and Chester residents are inactive. Being inactive is an issue at any age across all communities. If we spend too much time in positions that do not use energy, for example sitting at our desks, or sitting in front of the television, for long periods of time, our health can be affected. Increasing physical activity is important at all ages.
We live in an environment which nudges us towards unhealthier behaviours, we are surrounded by an abundance of cheap energy dense food, unhelpful marketing and advertising of less healthy products and places which favour motorised transport and sedentary lifestyles.
Less healthy food and drink (those which are high in fat, salt, and sugar) is easily accessible and affordable to most. There is an association between exposure to fast food consumption and obesity, and with more fast food in areas of higher deprivation this may increase the links between deprivation, obesity, and poor health.
Most of us spend time in several different environments such as school and nursery, work, home, local neighbourhoods, and places we visit for other reasons, including leisure and social activities. The opportunities to eat well and be active within these environments can differ considerably and can often depend on where you live. As part of this strategy we want all our environments to support residents to eat well and be active. Whether that be through initiatives within schools, planning decisions to restrict fast food outlets from opening in deprived areas, or supporting the creation of environments which support people to walk and cycle and to be physically active.
System leadership is important to facilitate joined-up working, drive progress, keep momentum going, and for accountability. Adopting a system leadership approach involves building and managing effective partnerships to ensure that clear and consistent messages and action are delivered across the board with an emphasis on the sharing and learning of data, insight, and best practice. This needs to be multi-level and multi-organisational, and is key in establishing a joint vision, shared by all partners. Effective leadership allows action to take place on the ground, for priorities to be taken forward and for change to happen. The Eat Well Be Active partnership is chaired by the Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and reports to the Health and Well-Being Board. Adopted in 2019 by the Council’s Cabinet, the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight committed the Council to taking clear steps to improving the environments in which we live, making it easier to eat well and be active.
What are the outcomes we want to see?
- More mothers who want to are enabled to start breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding their baby in the early weeks and for as long as they are able to/ wish to
- A reduction in the proportion of women in early pregnancy who are living with obesity
- More families accessing healthy start vouchers
- Increase uptake of free school meals by eligible families
- Increase in the number of schools supporting healthy weight initiatives - Give Up Loving Pop (GULP), Milk and Water only, Active Schools, Smile for a Mile, healthy and active school pledge
- Increase in the number of children and young people being weighed and measured through the National Child Measurement Programme at reception and year 6
- Increased consumption of fruit and vegetables (adults)
- Increased levels of physcial activity in adults
- Decrease levels of physcial inactivity in adults
- More adults taking part in active travel
- An increasingly empowered and informed workforce, supporting adults in a stigma-free way to access support through a healthy weight pathway
- Increased number of workplaces suporting healthy weight iniatives (GULP, Active Workplaces)
- Increase support for older people to eat well and be physically active
- Reduction in the number of less healthy food outlets trading in areas of deprivation / high levels of childhood obesity
- Increased use of active travel for commuting and short trips
- Improved walking and cycling infrastructure
- Joined up working to support residents to access sustainable food
- Joined-up, system-wide working across council departments and partners
- Increased number of organisations signing up to the Healthy Weight Declaration Partner Pledge
- Work towards the commitments set out in the healthy weight declaration
What are the key actions we will take?
- Work in partnership, taking a system-wide approach to support healthy weight, and to encourage healthy, sustainable food and physical activity
- Work with schools and early years settings to support implementation of programmes to support healthy weight
- Work with schools meals provider to improve school meals, support parents/carers to provide healthy lunch boxes
- Work with Brio Leisure and other providers to increase access to physical activity opportunities
- Work with employers and workplaces to support healthy weight activities
- Support individuals and families to access healthy food in times of need
- Work with schools and early years settings to support them to improve their settings to make them more conducive to healthy weight
- Support partners to adopt the Healthy Weight Declaration Partner Pledge
- Train colleagues and partners to acknowledge the wider determinants of health and the importance of taking a stigma free approach to healthy weight
- Work with council procurement to improve food and drink provision provided in council-operated buildings
- Work with the planning department to curb the proliferation of fast food takeaways in the borough, particularly in areas of deprivation
- To report regularly on progress to the Health and Wellbeing Board
How will we measure progress? (Key indicators/ potential indicators)
- Reduce prevalence of obesity in early pregnancy
- Increase breastfeeding initiation
- Increase breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks
- Increase healthy start voucher uptake
- Increase the number of schools taking part in healthy weight programmes (GULP, Milk and Water only, Active Schools, Smile for a Mile, healthy and active school pledge)
- Increase the number of partners signed up to the Healthy Weight Declaration Partner Pledge
- Increase the number of children weighed and measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme
- Decrease child excess weight in 4-5 year olds
- Decrease child excess weight in 10-11 year olds
- Decrease the percentage of adults (aged 18+) classed as overweight or obese
- Work with increased number of partners to improve nutrition, hydration, and physical activity in older adults
- Increase the number of front line staff taking part in the healthy weight training
- Increase the number of planning refusals based on the potential impact on obesity, inequalities and wider health concerns
- Increase the number of departments and partners driving forwards the healthy weight declaration commitments
- Increase the progress achieved on healthy weight declaration