Rt Hon David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, secured a debate in Westminster Hall this morning (6 March) on the issue of childhood obesity. Mr Evennett specifically focused on childhood obesity in Bexley Borough, which statistically performs worse when examined against other demographically comparable London boroughs. Rt Hon James Brokenshire, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, was also in attendance at the debate and raised the issue of ingredients used in many foods consumers buy.
In his speech, Mr Evennett raised the long-term health problems associated with obesity, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, as well as the difficulties with losing excess weight and how childhood obesity is one of the top public health challenges for this generation. He also highlighted the poor statistical figures in Bexley, and discussed the actions being taken locally to help tackle the issue. Mr Evennett also spoke about Public Health England’s ‘One You’ campaign, with the slogan 400-600-400 which is the number of calories people should eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Overweight or obese children are consuming up for 500 calories a day more than they need, which is equivalent to an extra meal a day. He praised the work of Dr Anjan Ghosh, Director of Public Health and Deputy Director of Health and Wellbeing, and thanked him for information he provided on Bexley Council’s plans to help combat the problem locally.
Mr Evennett concluded the debate with some of the actions needed to address the problem, including reducing sugar and calorie intake, healthy eating, increasing physical activity, and educating parents, grandparents and children about obesity.
Public Health Minister, Steve Brine MP, responded, and spoke about the Government’s Childhood Obesity Strategy, acknowledged the seriousness of the issue in Bexley and across the country, and listed the Government’s future plans.