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Tipping the Scales

14 April 2011

Report by Assembly's Health and Public Services Committee urges Mayor to act on childhood obesity as true cost of problem revealed. 


Across the capital, one in five youngsters is obese, and London’s childhood obesity rate is higher than any other English region. 

New research we commissioned for our investigation reveals that childhood obesity costs the capital £7.1 million a year to treat and this bill could reach almost £111 million each year if today’s youngsters remain obese into adulthood. The research also reveals that adult obesity currently costs London £883.6 million each year. 

Our report highlights that although the Mayor says childhood obesity is his number one health priority – and he has introduced initiatives that encourage walking, cycling, food growing and sports participation – few of his initiatives are focused exclusively on obesity-reduction and they are not coordinated. The report also analyses the cost-effectiveness of a range of different obesity interventions

Watch a short video about the report's key findings:

Key recommendations

The Committee says the Mayor is uniquely placed to address the problem by using some important policy levers and funding over which he has control, and by influencing negotiations with major private companies and other organisations operating in the capital.

We call on the Mayor to work with partners to introduce a new London-wide obesity strategy by 2013 which will support co-ordinated actions to address the many reasons why a child becomes dangerously overweight.

The Mayor should also reveal future spending plans for obesity-related programmes.

Lastly, the proposed London Health Improvement Board should develop processes for evaluating obesity interventions and sharing good practice.

The Mayor's response

The Mayor has responded positively to our report, including outlining plans to take forward work to tackle childhood obesity through the London Health Improvement Board.

Read the full report, the evidence we received during our investigation and the Mayor's response: