National Childhood Obesity Strategy

MQT on 2016-09-14
Session date: 
September 14, 2016
Question By: 
Onkar Sahota
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Childhood Obesity is at epidemic levels in London. What are your thoughts on the National Childhood Obesity Strategy and what more can we do in London?


Answer for National Childhood Obesity Strategy

Answer for National Childhood Obesity Strategy

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Thank you, Chairman. I thank the Assembly Member for this important question. You are correct that childhood obesity is at concerning levels in our city and it is an issue that London needs to be giving careful consideration and action to. One out of five children in London is overweight or obese before they start primary school. That number rises to one out of three by the time they start secondary school. It is the single biggest issue that is affecting our children’s lifelong health and their opportunity to have the best start in life. This is simply not good enough and it is a situation we should not tolerate.


While I welcome the Government’s obesity plan, it was a missed opportunity to show leadership and lacks ambition to deliver the whole-system change that is required if we are serious about attacking this issue. In its absence, local government leaders across London, including me as the Mayor, will need to play a role. Extra investment to get children cycling and walking is desperately needed and very welcome. My Healthy Schools London programme ensures a healthy diet in schools and aligns well with new opportunities to incorporate a Healthy Schools rating scheme within the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) inspection process, and I am proud to be extending this programme into early years settings. The birth-to-five-year period can make or break a child’s future, which is why we need to get involved at an early stage.


Strengthening local authority powers over licensing to reduce fast food availability would be incredibly useful, enabling local communities to decide what food environments are best for them. It is disappointing that the Government has backed away from more reform and I am calling for greater devolution of additional powers and resources to local authorities.


Can I just say this, if we want to lead a step change on childhood obesity in this city, if we want to reduce health inequalities that are being faced by the next generation and give them the best opportunity to succeed, we need action and leadership across the whole of our system. The Childhood Obesity Strategy fails to do that and it fails to meet the expectations of this city.


Dr Onkar Sahota AM: Thank you very much for that very full answer. I do not need to ask a supplementary.