We are committed to helping Londoners achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
"My perfect 2012 legacy would be a leaner, fitter London and I want us to work swiftly towards the elimination of childhood obesity."
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
More than a third of London’s 11 year olds are overweight, and around one in five are obese. Children in London are more likely to be overweight or obese than children in other parts of England.
For adults, the situation is even more worrying – more than half of adult Londoners are overweight or obese. This means that our children are growing up in a city where it is literally normal to be overweight.
In one sense, the reason why people gain weight is very simple – when we take in more energy from our food and drink than we burn off with day to day activity. But a huge range of issues affect what we choose to eat, and whether we keep active – for example:
- Can we buy healthy food near where we live, go to school or work?
- Is it cheaper and easier to buy foods high in fat and sugar?
- Does the environment around us make it easy and enjoyable to walk short journeys?
- Are there opportunities where we live for children to get outside and play?
- Do we have time – with work or family commitments – to shop for and prepare healthy meals, or to take exercise?
So helping people to be a healthy weight means encouraging people to make healthy choices, but is also means making changes to the environment in London to make those choices easier.
What is the Mayor doing to help London tackle obesity?
The Mayor is committed to helping London tackle obesity. The Healthy Schools London programme launched in April 2013 will support London’s schools to provide an environment and culture that helps their pupils grow up to be a healthy weight, and support their wider health and wellbeing. Through Transport for London and iniatives like Fit Cities the Mayor can encourage people to be physically active.
Find out more about obesity
If you’re interested in how obesity might affect you or your family, or if you want advice on staying a healthy weight, you may find the NHS choices website (external website) helpful.
If you’d like to learn more about the causes of obesity, levels of obesity in London, and some of the science behind the issues, then the National Obesity Observatory (external website) is a good place to start.