The government has announced a new programme to develop local solutions to childhood obesity that can be shared across the country.
The government is asking local authorities to apply to its Trailblazer programme, in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA).
Speaking at the LGA obesity conference, Public Health Minister Steve Brine introduced the programme and invited councils to submit proposals for tackling childhood obesity in their area when the programme launches in October.
The 3-year programme forms part of the second chapter of the government’s childhood obesity plan, launched in the summer, which included the aim to halve childhood obesity by 2030. One in 3 children leaves primary school overweight or obese.
All councils will be invited to apply to the programme and set out their proposals. Up to 12 local authorities will be supported to develop practical plans, and in spring next year 5 authorities will be selected.
Trailblazer local authorities will be on the programme for 3 years. During that time they will be given expert advice to help realise their plans, as well as £100,000 per year in funding to support this.
Successful approaches to reducing childhood obesity will be considered for shaping national policy.
Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, said: “We know that when it comes to improving the health of local communities, local leaders are the real experts. We are looking for innovation, ambition and passion to tackle childhood obesity, particularly in deprived areas, where children are more than twice as likely to be an unhealthy weight.
“Our Trailblazer programme presents a real opportunity to bring your ideas to life with the help of dedicated support and guidance. Your proposals will not only improve the health of children in your own communities but across the country by helping us to shape future policy on childhood obesity.
“Brilliant, innovative projects are already taking place across the country, but now is the time to share your views on what the barriers are and how we can go forward to tackle this issue together.”
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Unless we tackle the obesity challenge, today’s obese children will become tomorrow’s obese adults, whose years of healthy life will be shortened by a whole host of health problems including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
“This Trailblazer programme is a great opportunity for councils to maximise their pioneering work to tackle obesity and health inequalities. We encourage local authorities to apply for this funding to tackle the obesity crisis, which is costing the NHS more than £5 billion a year.”