Dec 22 2006
AN estimated 132,400 people in Cheshire are obese, according to a county council report.
Nationally by 2010 approximately one in five children aged between two and five will be obese with more girls than boys being affected.
Cheshire County Council wants to make sure that's not the case. Bosses have published a review which proposes an award scheme which recognises nurseries and pre-schools providing healthy food and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Consideration should also be given, says the review, to making the award open to child minders.
Headed by Cty Cllr Chris Claxton, a team scrutinised the effectiveness of the various initiatives being undertaken on children's eating habits, particularly out of school.
It took evidence from public health and children's services experts and the results and recommendations are set out in an 18-page report.
Its recommendations include supporting the provision of cookery lessons in secondary schools, and the county council working with borough councils and primary care trusts to investigate ways in which children learn about food, including its origins through gardening clubs and allotments.
'This important subject is one of the biggest health issues facing us throughout our lives,' said Cllr Claxton. 'Lessons need to be learnt - and quickly - because figures are on the increase nationally and the cost is horrendous to the health service.
'Obesity costs Cheshire's health service approximately £48m a year because of associated health risks which include asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and orthopaedic disorders.
'Annually obesity has risen by 0.7% in the county. In a doctor's practice of 10,000 patients it means that 60 new adults would be treated for obesity each year.'
Other recommendations include encouraging each school to identify a governor to be responsible for healthy lifestyles throughout a school.
The county's director of children's services is to be asked to hold a special conference to promote this new responsibility.