In response to the childhood obesity strategy being published, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said:
“Boroughs are spending more than £16 million on reducing childhood obesity in London during this financial year alone as we are keenly aware that prevention and early intervention will make a huge difference to children’s lives and manage future health and social care costs.
“Boroughs are using their wider local planning powers to ensure hot food takeaways do not cluster near schools, training frontline staff to offer support if they recognise childhood obesity and working with food businesses to encourage them to offer healthy alternatives.
“The government’s childhood obesity strategy could have gone so much further by strengthening local authority powers so they have more freedom to give health and wellbeing the priority it deserves. However, we welcome the sugary drinks levy, which will incentivise drinks businesses to reduce the sugar content of their products. London boroughs must have a meaningful role in targeting funding generated by the levy to ensure children across the capital truly reap the benefits.
“Decisive action needs to be taken to address childhood obesity in London. We will continue to work with our partners to achieve this.”