Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 5th February 2009
Title of Item/Report
Scrutiny Review of Obesity
Record of the Decision
Members considered a report produced by the Children and Young People Select Committee and coming from its review of obesity.

It was explained that, in carrying out the review, the Select Committee had recognised the importance of the issues and had undertook to look at services currently available and to assist the development of an obesity strategy for Stockton Borough.

The Committee therefore met with officers from Stockton-on-Tees Teaching Primary Care Trust as well as Council departments, Tees Active Limited, and GP representation whose work was identified as providing opportunities for limiting or arresting the likelihood of obesity rates rising in the future.

In particular, examination of the Healthy Schools agenda, Council catering, food outlets, sport provision in the borough, planning, transportation including walking and cycling opportunities especially to and from school, and GP referrals, occupied the committee members time.

Members noted that the PCT and Stockton Borough Council, had been visited by the Department of Health's Childhood Obesity National Support Team in September 2007 which provided recommendations to halt the year-on-year rise in obesity among children aged under 11 by 2010. Using this as a basis but widening the Committee's usual remit to include adults, councillors were able to begin to investigate this issue.

A high proportion of residents did not undertake any forms of exercise and increasing numbers of young people that took part in the National Child Measurement Programme had been found to be overweight or obese. This was coupled with a change in food preparation and availability which could include a higher proportion of fat, salt and sugars to be consumed than was advised for a healthy lifestyle. Increased levels of obesity, as a result, was likely to have an impact on public services which the Committee attempted to determine how prevention rather than cure could benefit not only individuals but also the use of council and PCT budgets.

In the Stockton PCT area the estimated annual costs to the NHS of diseases related to overweight and obesity was calculated to be 51.9m in 2007, 53.9m in 2010, and 57.6m in 2015. The Committee was therefore keen to see that the use of financial resources, especially in the current economic climate, is used to the greatest advantage.

The Committee examined the issue of obesity as it affected all stages of an individual's life, from birth, to pre-school, school, and adult life including maternal health and structured its report on the Government's Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives documentation to assist the report's use by Council and PCT staff and its assimilation into current working practice.

The review highlighted many areas of good practice that was already being carried out in a variety of areas within the borough to help individuals tackle the problems of excess weight and their corresponding health issues. The Committee was therefore hopeful that its recommendations would help to co-ordinate the areas of positive working arrangements and go some way to identify the gaps in service provision that will need to be closed.


1. the Director of Public Health together with appropriately identified partners from the Health and Well-being Partnership Board publish a long-term strategy to tackle obesity that is appropriately resourced. It was noted that the Committee acknowledged the excellent work already carried out by stakeholders and this strategy would capture and build upon the work that was currently delivered in the borough.

2 the PCT and SBC evaluates not only the success of obesity programmes currently commissioned and delivered within the Borough but also consider introducing examples of best practice elsewhere to ensure that value for money is being achieved and services are delivered in targeted areas and to targeted groups as appropriate.

3 the PCT commission the midwifery service, as part of its service level agreement to introduce progressive nutrition and cooking skills programmes during antenatal visits which should include benefits of breast feeding.

4 SBC and the PCT make public information available to help women planning conception to prioritise healthy eating and physical activity programmes and offer readily available and appropriate programmes to pregnant women.

5 SBC introduce cooking skills development within Children's Centres.

6 SBC and the PCT identify funding and commissioning opportunities and community venues to introduce cooking healthily skills for Stockton Borough residents in order to improve the quality of family eating behaviour.

7 SBC increase opportunities for active play in parent/carer and toddler groups.

8 the PCT consider commissioning the monitoring of infant weight, in particular 2 year height and weight check, in order to advise on eating behaviour where appropriate.

9 the standard letter regarding the National Measurement Programme that goes to all parents/carers of children eligible for the programme:-
Clearly explains the purpose of the scheme and dispels any misconceptions.
Promotes the benefits of early intervention against the long-term health risks.
Offers signposting to any appropriate support to both the child and parent/carer.

10 the Council and where appropriate the PCT promote a strategic approach to healthy eating and physical activity through the introduction of Healthy lifestyle team comprising of Nutritionist (2) and assistants to work with Healthy Schools Team. Responsibilities would include:

SBC's Children, Education, Social Care (CESC) department to maximise opportunities to promote positive attitudes and behaviours related to healthy eating.
CESC to monitor implementation of School Food Trust Guidelines.
CESC to encourage the increase of school meal take up.
CESC, with School Governors, to introduce healthy lunch box policy.
CESC and the PCT to deliver training to school staff, and included in School Governors training programme, to ensure a consistent healthy lifestyle message.
CESC to explore all funding opportunities of breakfast clubs and determine standard quality levels.
CESC to address obesity related school bullying.
PCT and CESC to develop specialist treatment service for children above 98.6 centile.
PCT and CESC to develop robust pathways for referral to other weight management opportunities in the community for secondary school-age pupils.
CESC with SBC's Road Safety Team ensure that each school has in place an appropriate sustainable school travel plan.

11 CESC should continue to explore opportunities with School Governing Bodies to promote:-

The Healthy Schools Programme
The Extended School Day including the promotion of Breakfast Clubs
The opportunity of the wider community accessing school grounds out of school time.

12 schools maximise opportunities for physical activity during the school day that contributes to the objective of 5 hours per week of high quality physical education.

13 CESC, in partnership with college governors, identify opportunities to support students age 16+ to develop life skills based on information related to nutrition, cooking skills developments and benefits of exercise in a similar way to how alcohol/drug misuse and smoking cessation has been targeted.

14 SBC investigate the effectiveness of policy S14 of Alteration no 1 to the adopted Local Plan in controlling fast food outlets outside of the defined retail centres, and ensure policies are contained in the Regeneration Development Plan Document to reduce the proliferation of such outlets outside defined retail centres with specific regards to protecting the health and well being of children, especially near parks and school.

15 SBC and the PCT compile a register of current food outlets in each ISA locality to enable focussed efforts on promoting the development of healthy options and an award scheme that recognises this.

16 the PCT commission seminars for restaurateurs to learn to adapt recipes with lower levels of fat, salt or sugar as part of the award programme including providing nutrition information on menus and offering smaller portions of adult menu items.

17 SBC and the PCT support workplaces to adopt corporate policy on healthy catering.

18 SBC and the PCT encourage take up of national convenience store initiative in Stockton to increase fruit and vegetable consumption

19 SBC and the PCT establish links with private play centres to include additional opportunistic sessions around healthy eating and cooking skills.

20 SBC and the PCT undertake a mapping exercise of family based physical activities available during school holidays to identify gaps in provision and to assist consideration of funding opportunities including the mainstreaming of free/reduced cost provision.

21 SBC and the PCT encourage family swimming programmes which offer adult as well as children ‘learn to swim' sessions.

22 SBC and the PCT consider a social marketing campaign to gain insights into barriers that prevent women accessing sport and physical activity.

23 SBC and the PCT encourage the development of more family programmes in existing and developing sports facilities so parents/carers and children could access these together.

24 SBC's Sports Development Team be urged to capitalise on the public interest generated by the 2012 London Olympics and success of the games held during 2008 in Beijing and explore increasing access to sport and activity opportunities. This may include publicising that Tees Active is currently coaching a number of young people who may be competing in the 2012 Olympics to represent Team GB.

25 SBC and the PCT mainstream the ‘Walking for Health' campaign: encouraging at least one third more of the borough's population to achieve 10,000 steps per day by 2010.

26 SBC and the PCT identify measured walks that can then be publicised to assist people achieve their 10,000 steps or for general health benefits

27 the Council's scheme encouraging the use of bicycles for travelling to and from official business be promoted.

28 the PCT and SBC encourage other major local organisations to adopt a similar scheme.

29 the PCT and SBC to develop a programme of measures to encourage its employees to engage in regular physical activity. When in placestakeholders should be encouraged to urge large employers to consider a similar programme for its staff.

30 SBC and the PCT to promote wellness in the workplace by offering personalised health advice and lifestyle management programmes in workplace as part of core business.

31 the PCT explore the delivery of a multi-component community based weight management service with special emphasis on psychology of eating behaviour.

32 the PCT, through Social Marketing insights, promote men's weight management.

33 SBC and the PCT to set the example to the wider community in the first instance by encouraging and facilitating healthy lifestyles among its workforce.

34 the PCT and SBC work with local markets, supermarkets and shops across the borough to publicise healthy eating and assist customers to select healthy and good value options from the range of fruit and vegetables, meat, eggs, and other good quality produce.

35 the PCT and SBC review its policies on catering for events such as conferences, meetings etc to ensure that a healthy range is provided.

36 SBC and the PCT support a range of outlets to promote healthy lifestyle advice and signposting services to pharmacies, community centres, leisure centres, walking schemes etc.

37 SBC and the PCT develop co-locating services to provide the delivery of healthy lifestyle advice supported with Health Trainer service to improve 1-1 support associated with healthy eating, cooking skills training.

38 consideration is given by the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, under the reconfiguration of hospital services (Momentum), that nutritionists and dieticians are, wherever possible, relocated into community settings to increase the level of community services.

39 the PCT should engage with its GPs to develop a regular weight monitoring programme of all its patients with its aim of early intervention and appropriate support for patients.

40 that in recognition that advising patients and also parents/carers of a child who is overweight or obese should be handled sensitively a training programme should be developed for those involved in any weight measuring or weight management scheme.
Reasons for the Decision
In order to assist the determination of school need and location based on the changing demographic nature of Stockton Borough and to ascertain the accuracy of information used for formulating consultation for the BSF programme.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Not applicable
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight on Friday 13th February 2009

Date of Publication: 09 February 2009

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