Leeds, the first UK city to minimise its childhood obesity rate

Leeds, the first UK city to minimise its childhood obesity rate
Photo: pixabay.com

Childhood obesity has become a major concern in the UK. Children from the age of two to 15 are obese or overweight. Third or 23% of all children in England are suffering from this problem. The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) have come up with the latest data, which shows that Leeds has become the first UK city to successfully reduce the rates of childhood obesity. Very few cities in the world have been successful in lowering the childhood obesity rate, Amsterdam is one of them.

Susan Jebb, a professor of population health and diet from Oxford University said, “The improvement in the most deprived children in Leeds is startling.” Her team has been collecting data on this matter from the past 4 years. A drop of 11.5 percent to 10.5 percent has been recorded in childhood obesity in Leeds suggesting that the decrease will go forward. The biggest fall has been noticed at the age of four, which is 10.3 percent in 2010 to 6.4 percent.

The reduction has been evidently noticed after the introduction of a programme called HENRY, Health, Exercise, and Nutrition for the Really Young. This programme was initiated in 2009 and helped the parents to increase the young child’s physical activities and set boundaries for the children on the sweets and amount of junk food they ate. A noticeable change has been noticed in the deprived children as compared to the affluent families.

The programme focuses on healthy living from a young age to help the child develop better eating habits and prolonged health benefits. A report by Professor Mary Rudolf that was commissioned by the Department of Health in 2009 was the reason for the introduction of this programme.

The parents have an upper hand over their child’s health and can direct them towards eating right, Henry brings a strategy that works alongside parents to help their kids.

HENRY is being adopted as a strategy in the reduction of obesity by the city of Leeds in a citywide scenario. Results of Henry were presented in the European Congress on Obesity and were also published in the Pediatric Obesity Journal. The childhood deserves healthy living with utmost importance to physical play and less indulgence over couch relaxing video games. The future of the world has to take measures and step towards healthy tomorrow.