Helping children to maintain a healthy weight and ensuring overweight youngsters and their families have the support they need are the focus of a countywide consultation.
Durham County Council is seeking the public’s views on the factors that influence a child’s weight ahead of a joint review being carried out with partners in the NHS.
Rates of overweight and obese children in the county remain significantly worse than those for England as a whole, with 24.1% of four to five-year-olds falling into these categories in 2016/17.
This is higher than the average for England, 22.6%, and equates to about 1,400 children or 46 classrooms.
Among ten to 11-year-olds, 37.7% were overweight or obese, compared to the England average of 34.2%.
This means around 2,000 children aged ten to 11 or 67 classrooms across the county are overweight or obese.
The Supporting Children to Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight consultation runs until Friday September 14.
Cllr Lucy Hovvels, cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “Helping our children to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is a key priority in County Durham.
“Children are becoming overweight and obese at younger ages and are staying so for longer. This is concerning as it could continue into adulthood, causing more health problems and impacting on their quality of life.
“We want to make sure we are providing the right support to children and families to help them to make positive changes.”
In County Durham, children, of all ages, and their families can access information, advice and support to help them to maintain a healthy weight either by seeking this themselves or by referral from a professional.
Cllr Hovvels added: “We would like to hear which factors you think are important in influencing a child’s ability to maintain a healthy weight.
“We would also like to know what, if any, support you think should be available for children who are overweight and their families, at what point in a child’s life support should be offered and where this would be best provided.”
The council is also engaging with children and families who have accessed support for weight management, staff from existing weight management programmes and those who work with children. A summary of the results of the consultation will be available by the end of the year.
The online consultation is available at www.durham.gov.uk/consultations
Comments can also be emailed to [email protected] or sent by post to Public Health, Adult and Health Services, Durham County Council, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UJ.
For more information about support on offer to children and families in County Durham around healthy weight, contact Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust 0 to19 service on 03000 263 538.