[L]eaders from Cumbria County Council and the 6 district councils have been officially recognised for their commitment to promoting healthy weight across the county. A presentation at today’s Cumbria Leaders Board made Cumbria the first two-tier area to introduce a joint Healthy Weight Declaration between county and district level councils.
The Healthy Weight Declaration is a ‘Food Active’ initiative. Food Active is a collaborative programme launched by North West Directors of Public Health in November 2013 to tackle rising obesity levels in the North West.
The Healthy Weight Declaration is a set of commitments and priorities identifying some key principles to support staff and local communities to make healthier lifestyle choices and endeavour to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council and Chair of Cumbria Health & Wellbeing Board, said: “Tackling obesity in Cumbria is a priority and working with our district partners can only help us to improve the health of the Cumbrian population, supporting people to make healthier lifestyle choices.”
“Together we employ a significant number of people, we work with residents, businesses, communities and other organisations, the Healthy Weight Declaration represents our commitment to tackling obesity issues across the county.”
Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “The North West has the highest overweight population in England and Cumbria has one of the highest in the North West.
“The partnership between local councils provides a way of engaging service areas like planning, children’s services, environmental health, public health, community services and more to highlight each other’s role in tackling obesity.
“The Healthy Weight Declaration provides an opportunity to protect some of the most vulnerable in Cumbria by giving children the best start in life and enabling all of us to make healthier choices.”
Robin Ireland, Director of Research at Food Active, said: “By signing this declaration, Cumbria is making itself accountable and I hope communities will challenge you on that.
“The declaration will support local authorities to exercise their responsibility in developing and implementing policies which promote healthy weight, I look forward to your continued efforts to promote healthy weight and to improve health and well-being in Cumbria.”
Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr Colin Glover, said: “District Councils provide many services, facilities and programmes that play an important role in ensuring good health and wellbeing in our communities. We are committed to making a positive difference. Helping people to make choices to maintain a healthy weight and live healthier, more active lives. The Healthy Weight Declaration demonstrates that we will work together with other councils and partners to make a positive change for the benefit of our residents and communities.”
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “Health is everyone’s business and it is extremely important to us that our residents do not miss out on life opportunities because of weight issues. We know that as a borough we need to improve our obesity statistics and we are determined to do so. This declaration gives us a collaborative framework to ensure we tackle it together and achieve meaningful and lasting results.”
Eden District Council’s Leader Kevin Beaty, said: “Having healthy and vibrant communities is a priority for the Council and by working together with our colleagues in the public sector, businesses and community organisations we can help to reduce the impact obesity issues have in the county now and in the future.”
Councillor Philip Dixon, South Lakeland District Council’s portfolio holder for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “It is our aspiration, our policy, that people will enjoy the benefits of healthy weight.
“It is important that we as a council take a stand on this issue and this declaration will help to underpin many of the things that we will say and do.”
Alan Smith, Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, said: “Promoting a healthy weight is a key priority for the Council and we are keen to do what we can to tackle the issues related to people being overweight. It is great to see all the key partners working together on this.”