London's Child Obesity Taskforce has been established as part of the Mayor's commitment to address child obesity.

London's Child Obesity Taskforce

Nearly 40 per cent of all London’s children are overweight or obese, with the highest rates occurring in the areas of greatest deprivation. In London’s Health Inequalities Strategy the Mayor restated his commitment to addressing child obesity to affect a step change for all children across London, especially those who face the most challenging circumstances. 

The Taskforce

As part of that commitment, the Mayor has established London’s Child Obesity Taskforce with generous support from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity as lead partner, and in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE), the Association of Directors of Public Health London (ADPH London) and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services London (ADCS London)

The Taskforce’s vision is that every child in London grows up in a community and an environment that supports their health and weight.

Its purpose is to bring about a transformation in London so that every child has every chance to grow up eating healthily, drinking plenty of water and being physically active.

Its commitment by 2030 is to halve the percentage of London’s children who are overweight at the start of primary school and obese at the end of primary school, and to reduce the gap in childhood obesity rates between the richest and poorest areas in London.


Childhood obesity taskforce Mayor of London

Hard to be healthy: day-to-day realities for London's children

What makes it harder for London’s children to be healthier?

Many children - especially those living in London’s most disadvantaged communities - find eating a healthy diet, drinking water and being physically active a major challenge. Let’s look at how hard it is through the eyes of four children living life on a low income

London is one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Despite this, our city is home to some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country. In fact, almost two in five Londoners today live in poverty.  

Unhealthy weight in London’s children

What we Know

In 2017/18, one in five of London’s 4/5-year old children were affected by overweight or obesity. At age 10/11 – the figure is 38 per cent  

Meet the Taskforce

Paul Lindley
Chair - Paul Lindley OBE, entrepreneur and children's welfare campaigner

Paul is an award-winning British entrepreneur, social campaigner and author. In 2006 he founded Ella’s Kitchen, an innovative brand of organic baby food built on a core social mission. It has since become the UK’s largest baby food brand, with over $100M in sales across 40 countries. Paul stepped back from Ella’s Kitchen in 2018 to devote more of his time to social campaigning.  In 2014 he co-founded The Key is E, supporting African entrepreneurs whose social businesses benefit children. In 2017 his book, the critically acclaimed bestseller ‘Little Wins: The Huge Power of Thinking Like a Toddler’, was published. In addition to being appointed Chair of London’s Child Obesity Taskforce, Paul is Chair of Robert F Kennedy Human Rights UK, a Trustee of Sesame Workshop, the creators of Sesame Street, and sits on the Board of social enterprise Toast Ale.

Corinna Hawkes
Vice Chair - Professor Corinna Hawkes, Professor of Food Policy, Director of the Centre of Food Policy, City University

Professor Hawkes is Director, Centre for Food Policy, City University of London since 2016. She has worked for 20 years on the prevention of obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases. Previously she was Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the NGO, World Cancer Research Fund International, where she established the NOURISHING framework on policies to promote healthy diets. Corinna sits on the Lancet Commission on Obesity, acts as an advisor to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Obesity Program and is on the Scientific Advisory Council of Healthy Food America. Between 2015-18 she served as Co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report and between 2016-18 as Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Food Systems. She also sits on the EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems. In 2008 she chaired the WHO Expert Group on Marketing Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages to Children. 

In the UK she is a member of Public Health England's Obesity, Reduction and Reformulation Reference Group, the Scientific Advisory Group of the Global Food Security programme of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and an advisor to The Food Foundation. In 2016 she was a Trustee of Sustain: the Alliance for Better Food and Farming. 

Tim Baker
Tim Baker, Headteacher of Charlton Manor Primary School

Tim Baker started work as an electrical and electronic engineer. He has been head teacher of Charlton Manor Primary School for 14 years. He passionately believes that children learn best when they are engaged and enjoying what they are doing. He has found that through gardening and cooking behaviour is much improved and this impacts greatly on attainment.  

Charlton Manor includes gardening and cooking very much throughout their curriculum and children have benefited greatly from this. The school employs a full-time gardener and two full-time chefs to work with the children using food growing and cooking as a vehicle to drive the whole curriculum. Tim is also a fitness instructor and has taught fitness related exercise to children. Tim also runs a charity called Roots4Life.

Kieron Boyle
Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive of Guy's and St Thomas' Charity

Kieron is Chief Executive of Guy's and St Thomas' Charity, the UK's largest place-based charitable foundation. He heads the Charity's efforts to address the complex health challenges of inner-city areas. Prior to this, Kieron led the UK government's work on social investment.  In this role he was the UK representative to the G8 taskforce on social impact investment, and led initiatives creating the Access Foundation, Dementia Discovery Fund and the Dormant Assets Commission.  Previous roles were at the Department for Business, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and the Boston Consulting Group. Kieron sits on the Boards of Big Society Capital, the Design Council and Catch22. He Chairs Nesta’s Community Impact Development Fund and is on the advisory boards of the World Policy Institute and the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment. In 2014 he was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum

Mahamed Hashi
Dr Mahamed Hashi, Co-Founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen and Head of Advocacy at Young Lambeth Co-operative

Mahamed co-founded the Brixton Soup Kitchen in January 2013 with his co-founder Solomon Smith, both  youth workers of 16 years,. Responding to a desperate need, they help homeless people and Londoners in need by providing free food, support and company... Based at the Brixton Social club, offers hot food and drinks, CV workshops, job guidance, and advice on housing and benefits. Mahamed is involved in several community groupsincluding: the Lambeth Community Police Consultative Group, the Lambeth Stop & Search Monitoring Group (former chair), Pan London Community May motoring Network for Stop and search (former chair), London Probation Trust Forum, Territorial Support Group Community reference group (TSG CRG), the Trident Independent Advisory Group (Vice Chair) and the Black Mental Health Commission in Lambeth.

He has been recognised for his work by the South London Press who awarded him the 'Our Hero's Award' and he has also been featured in the Independent on Sunday’s Happy 100 list and in the Evening Standard’s top 1000 influential Londoners in both 2015 and 2016. In 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in philosophy by London Metropolitan University in recognition for “outstanding work with young people and the wider local community”. He also recently became the first Elected Somali Councillor in Lambeth.

Florence Kroll
Florence Kroll, Director of Children's Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich and representing the Association of London Directors of Children's Services

Florence qualified as a social worker in 1991and has worked within a range of voluntary and statutory settings from work with young offenders to families in need of support. In 2006 she became the Head of the Youth Offending Services in Hackney and as a senior Director later led the establishment of Young Hackney, an integrated model of Early Help family work in youth hub settings. In 2014 Florence became the Director for early Help services in Kent and transformed the fragmented services of children centres, youth services, family work and Youth Offending Teams to a coherent and effective model of early Help across the large geographical area of a county council. Florence has been the Director of Children’s Services in Greenwich since 2016 and has been involved in a range of innovation projects including whole family approaches to addressing domestic abuse and establishing the early new arrangements for safeguarding partnerships.


Ellen O'Donoghue
Ellen O'Donoghue, Head of Programmes at the Royal Foundation and marketing specialist

Ellen is currently Head of Programmes at the Royal Foundation. She was previously Director of Health Promotion at Movember, and prior to that she headed up the strategy and planning team for Public Health England’s world-leading behaviour change campaigns, delivering brand and campaign strategy, insight and evaluation.  She launched the strategic communications agency The Ladder Consultancy and set up and led the social marketing team at Forster Communications, working with clients including the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and the King’s Fund.  She was previously a Trustee of the children’s heart charity Tiny Tickers and drugs and alcohol charity Mentor UK and sat on the campaign advisory board of the mental health stigma campaign Time to Change.

June O'Sullivan
June O’Sullivan, Chief Executive of London Early Years Foundation

As CEO and creator of the UK's leading childcare charity and social enterprise since 2006, June continues to break new ground in the development of LEYF's scalable social business model. June is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Director of Early Years Nutrition Partnership, Trustee of London Hostels Association. Director of Social Enterprise UK, Member of Sustain Children’s Food Fund and Founding Member of International Early Years. She has recently joined the Mayor’s Advisory Skills Board.  June was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2013, for her services to London’s children. She won the Social Enterprise UK Women’s Champion Award in November 2014 and in February 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Middlesex. In 2016 she was named one of the 500 influential People in the UK by Debretts. In 2017 she was delighted to receive the Most Influential Person In Early Years Award and joined the top 10 of the WISE100 – an initiative from the NatWest SE100 Index which recognises100 of the most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise, impact investment and social innovation.

Rachel Toms
Rachel Toms, Specialist in healthy urban design and planning

Rachel is a landscape architect and design adviser who champions the role of the built environment in supporting health. From October 2018 she will be setting up a new programme on housing and health at Public Health England. Rachel led on built environment for NHS England’s Healthy New Towns programme and previously ran Design Council’s Creating Healthy Places Programme. She has delivered regeneration schemes for Hounslow and Croydon Councils; designed streets and public spaces in the UK, Ireland, India and Nepal; and has managed social housing across south London. Nationally, she has advised local authorities, developers and designers on development and regeneration proposals, and ran a design advice programme for secondary schools for the Department for Education. Rachel is a committee member of Wandsworth Living Streets, championing people-friendly streets, and serves on the board of a TfL project to pilot innovative approaches to improving pedestrian conditions in Tooting town centre

Phil Veasey
Phil Veasey, Consultant in community engagement

Phil has a strong background in scaling high impact, sustainable strategies and programmes in local communities including:

  • The community sport element of the National School Sport Strategy, including ‘Sportivate’, for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education – a major Olympic Legacy Programme
  • The National Mini Tennis Programme, for the Lawn Tennis Association (now the way children are introduced to the sport globally)
  • Leading the process to win a £1.65m award for ‘Building Powerful Scottish Communities’ to become part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games health legacy, delivering a 4-year intervention to March 2017

Phil currently sits on the Public Health England National Child Measurement Programme Board, and the Guys and St Thomas Charity Childhood Obesity Oversight Committee. Phil is a trustee of Access Sport and TwistFizz C.I.C.

Paul Plant, Interim Regional Director Public Health England (London)

Paul has lived in London for over 30 years and worked in a variety of public health roles in government, the NHS and academia before joining PHE in 2013. Before taking up the interim role, Paul split his time between being Deputy Director for Health Improvement and Workforce Development for PHE London and national director for one of PHE’s corporate programmes.

As Deputy Director, Paul and his team have supported the Mayor, GLA, local government and the NHS for the last 6 years, helping to put in place large-scale programmes to improve the health of Londoners and tackle health inequalities.  He has been active helping to shape the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy, ThriveLDN, Good Thinking – the capital’s digital mental health service – London’s HIV Fast Track City Initiative, as well as work on childhood obesity.  His team has helped to ensure the prevention elements of London’s Devolution Deal are delivered with partners. 

In his interim role he will chair of the London Prevention Board and become a member of the London Health Board. Paul is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, Visiting Professor with University College London and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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Yinka Makinde

Serving as Programme Director at DigitalHealth.London, Yinka takes on the challenging responsibility of making London a global commercial destination for digital health innovation, through services and programmes that support both the payors (largely the NHS) and digital health suppliers. Over the course of her 25-year career to date, Yinka has also worked for organisations such as Accenture, GlaxoSmithKline, Singapore General Hospital, as well as multiple NHS organisations across the UK.

As a Pharmacist turned Digital health disruptor, Yinka has developed a unique perspective when it comes to achieving innovation adoption. She is influenced by a mantra which has long been ‘prevention is better than cure’, and the war wounds gained from the largest healthcare IT transformation programme ever to be commissioned, that she feels privileged to have been involved with as a Consultant at Accenture. Yinka aspires to go beyond her current role of facilitating the change for others, to resuming her mission to ‘being the change’ in the next phase of her career.

Christopher Eyitayo, Talent Manager at Young Foodies

Chris has a background in youth marketing, digital and branding. He currently runs the student engagement and talent agenda at Young Foodies: the UK's largest community for start-up and scale-up food & drink businesses. Chris spends the majority of his time talking to students and brands UK-wide to support them in the talent space.

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Steve Whiteman, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing, Royal Brough of Greenwich

Through his work in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and his regional work with ADPH London, Steve has been working on the determinants of obesity for a number of years. Steve Chairs the London Obesity Leads network, involving officers from across London local authorities leading on tackling obesity, and key staff from the GLA and Public Health England. He co-led the London-wide Sector Led Improvement programme in 2016-17, which involved all London local authorities and the GLA in reviewing their approaches to tackling obesity, to strengthen their local programmes and to identify areas for collaboration across London. He has been instrumental in facilitating the take-up of obesity related initiatives by London council, such as Sugar Smart and the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Food and Sugar Reduction. For the last two years (2017 and 2018), the Royal Borough of Greenwich was ranked at the top of the table in the Sustain / GLA ‘Good Food for London’ report. 


If you would like to get in touch with London’s Child Obesity Taskforce then please email [email protected]

If you are a journalist, please email [email protected]

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