Joint presentation by Director of Public Health, Principal Planning Officer and Policy Research Officer
The Public Health Principal, Principal Planning Officer and Policy Research Officer submitted a PowerPoint presentation on Childhood Obesity Planning Options in relation to Hot Food Takeaways, following a recommendation from Cabinet that the Board investigate the impact of hot food takeaways on the health of residents, and in particular on childhood obesity in Darlington.
It was reported that defining overweight and obesity in children was a complex process and details were provided of the method used to determine a child’s BMI; in relation to causes of obesity, there was no single cause but a multitude of factors; and that healthy weight needed to be everybody’s business. Reference was made to the prevalence of obesity by age for 2019/20, with 12 per cent of children in Reception and 22.5 per cent of children in Year 6 living with obesity; that the prevalence of child obesity was concentrated in town centre wards; and details were provided of Darlington’s performance compared to its statistical nearest neighbours.
Reference was also made to contributory factors and details were provided of the policy and guidance in place; and that the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) and PHE set out 6 elements to help achieve healthy weight environments through planning in the 2014 publication ‘Planning Healthy Weight Environments.
It was reported that the use of exclusion zones for takeaway food outlets around locations often frequented by children and families such as schools, could be adopted as planning policy to promote health. Reference was made to the hot food takeaways in Darlington which had been plotted on a map, with a 400m buffer zone applied to all secondary schools. Of the takeaways in Darlington there were 14 existing takeaways within the 400m buffer zones; that of these, three were open during school hours; and that this did not identify a clear link between obesity and hot food takeaways, which was required to implement a policy approach.
Details were provided of the objectives of the Childhood Healthy Weight Plan for Darlington 2019-2024 which had been adopted and fed into the Local Plan, to transform the environment, increase making healthier choices easier and to support services needed to tackle excess weight; and that a range of actions were being undertaken in relation to understanding and adapting the obesogenic environment, out of home food provision, access to green space and active travel.
Discussion ensued in respect of the ease of implementing exclusion zones in the town centre; and it was requested that buffer zones be plotted for colleges in Darlington.
RESOLVED – (a) That the presentation be noted.
(b) That the findings of the investigation into childhood obesity planning options in relation to hot food takeaways be reported to Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, Health and Housing Scrutiny Committee and Planning Applications Committee.
REASONS – To enable the Board to consider Childhood Obesity Planning Options in relation to Hot Food Takeaways.