A joint two-year commitment to strengthen efforts to reduce obesity rates in the borough was made this week by Croydon Council, health and community bodies, schools and local businesses.
The organisations will better work together to support residents to make healthier choices easier through a range of actions like seeking to reduce the number of fast food outlets, particularly in areas where there is a high density of these, encouraging people to exercise by walking more and exploring the borough and cooking healthier meals.
The commitment was made during a cross-borough workshop this week (4th December) organised by the borough’s healthy weight partnership and supported by Croydon’s Health and Wellbeing Board, where they examined the barriers preventing people being healthier and ways to create a whole systems approach to tackling obesity.
There are already a number of initiatives in the borough supporting people to look after their health and wellbeing by being food smart and doing more exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
The two year plan is part of a long term goal to reduce Croydon’s obesity rates where almost two out of three adults are overweight, and for children it is one in five in reception year, which increases to one in three children in year six.
“I want to thank everyone who attended this important workshop as obesity seriously impacts on people’s health and increases their chance of becoming very ill. We have lots to celebrate with the efforts we are making in schools and communities to improve health and wellbeing. The outcome from this workshop is for us to take the next step and engage the whole borough to create a healthy weight environment for Croydon.”
Councillor Louisa Woodley, Chair of Croydon’s Health and Wellbeing Board
Rachel Flowers, Croydon’s Director of Public Health, who co-chaired the meeting with Councillor Woodley said: “The causes that lead to people being overweight or obese are complex and there are no quick solutions. However, we can make a difference by working together, taking a systems wide approach and making the best use of the resources available.”
Croydon resident, Pat Shepherd, shared her experiences at the workshop and how people can be supported with their weight loss challenges.
She said: “I began to put on weight when I first retired and I found myself snacking more to fill my time. I returned to work part time but being away from home meant I no longer regularly walked the dog and my husband took on that role. I was motivated to lose weight after my health deteriorated; I found it difficult to keep up with my active grandchildren and many of the clothes I liked did not suit my larger size.
“I lost 3.5 stones when I learnt to look differently at food and better understand the importance of healthy eating. I also exercise more, attend a Pilates class and walk to local parks instead of using public transport. Exercise classes can be expensive and I hope to see more social prescribing, where GPs offer social remedies to wellness.