Wigan Council In The Running To Be Part Of A New Programme To Tackle Childhood Obesity

Borough rates are worse than the national average and town hall bosses are hoping to make the cut as a ‘trailblazer’ authority.

A bid was submitted to the Local Government Association (LGA) in December, councillors were told this week.

The programme – funded by central government – will see local authorities handed £100k to implement a three year support project to promote healthy lifestyles among youngsters.

An initial cohort of councils will be chosen to take part in a ‘discovery phase’, which will see them receive £10k to develop a ‘bold and innovative’ action plan.

The LGA has said the result of its selection process will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Members of the children and young people scrutiny committee were told this week that if its bid is successful, the council will be able to find fresh ways to provide tailored support.

A report by officer Liz Ireland said although borough figures for reception children are ‘gradually improving’, concern remains about those in year six.

Latest public health figures say 21.1pc of Wigan’s 10 or 11-year-olds are obese, worse than the national average.

The council’s Start Well early years reforms have made an impact, officers have previously said, along with initiatives such as the Daily Mile and the Daily Toddle being adopted by many schools and nurseries.

“One in 10 children are already overweight or obese on entering reception. This rises to one in five in year six with boys more likely to be classed as obese,” the LGA website says.

“There is a ‘deprivation gap’ with children from deprived areas more than twice as likely to be obese and more than four times as likely to be severely obese than children in the least deprived areas.

“Councils have a vital role to play to tackle childhood obesity but there can be significant obstacles.

“To address this, Government committed to a three year trailblazer programme to work with council-led projects in England to tackle childhood obesity at a local level, with a particular focus on inequalities.”

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