Healthy weight 10-11 year old children initiatives

Libraries helping families improve their health

The partnership between the West Sussex Public Health team and libraries has been highlighted in the Change4Life case studies on the Public Health England website.  This partnership has been developing over recent years, to help improve outcomes and reduce health inequalities in communities. 
Libraries are a valuable link with communities as they reach into all areas of the county, including those that are deprived and hard to reach, and can be a key space from which to deliver services and useful health and wellbeing messages such as NHS health checks and Change4Life campaigns.
 By working in partnership, public health and library teams achieved the following results:
  • A 25% increase in the number of Be Food Smart packs distributed and a doubling of competition entries from 2016 to 2017.
  • Development of an aligned marketing strategy between the library service and public health campaign calendar, to ensure coordinated and consistent public health messages throughout communications channels.
  • Access to the libraries’ social media channels increased the council’s online reach to over 115,000 members of the public.
  • This activity has inspired Change4Life to create resources specifically for libraries, which launched in early 2019 with a nutrition campaign (see below).

Sugar Reduction Win

At the most recent Public Health England (PHE) Conference in Warwick, West Sussex County Council’s Public Health team was crowned National Award Winners for the West Sussex Sugar Smart Dental Toolkit; this was one of only four projects recognised out of 300. The project aimed to raise awareness of the harms of sugar on teeth and its effect on general health, and patients were also directed to healthy lifestyle services within their local wellbeing hub for more support if required.

West Sussex Sugar Smart Dental Toolkit

The West Sussex Sugar Reduction Programme (which started in January 2015) recently launched the West Sussex Sugar Smart Dental Toolkit pilot in local dental practices; it provides hard-copy and online resources to make it easier for dental teams to promote sugar reduction and a healthy diet amongst their patients.
Aligned to the national Change4Life campaign and ‘Top tips for teeth campaign’, it is designed to involve the whole dental team in raising sugar reduction awareness amongst patients. The resources include badges, stickers, promotional material, social media links, and prescription pads encouraging dental teams to signpost patients to healthy lifestyle services within their local Wellbeing Hub.
 A four week pilot ran from Tuesday, 29th May (Monday, 28th May was a bank holiday) and ending on Friday, 22nd June. This coincided with half-term at the end of May when lots of families tend to attend dental surgeries, so it was hoped that this would maximise the impact of the toolkit.

Child Obesity:  a plan for action

Childhood Obesity: a plan for action chapter 2 was released in June.  This document sets out the Government’s renewed approach to tackling child obesity and outlines their plan to halve child obesity and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030; children who are obese or overweight are disproportionally from low-income households
 For more information, please see the link  A plan for action chapter 2
Tackling Child Obesity in West Sussex.
Work to tackle child obesity in West Sussex is currently taking place as part of a wider integrated service approach for 0-19/25 year olds.
Workforce Development - Using an audit of baseline skills, a workforce development plan is being formulated to provide support and training, for both Council and NHS staff, to help them to:
  • Deliver consistent messages regarding Healthy Weight
  • Use motivational interviewing techniques
  • Ensure earliest identification of those at risk of becoming overweight and obese, with early intervention and appropriate referral to healthy eating programmes
South West Whole Systems Obesity Network: What works in promoting healthy weight: a learning seminar for professionals.
This event took place on 22nd February in Taunton and was attended by Alison Thomson from Public Health, who gave a presentation on the West Sussex approach to sugar reduction in primary school meals (in partnership with the West Sussex County Catering Service and Chartwells, primary school meals provider). 
Public Health England was keen for West Sussex to share our successful approach with this network, and the presentation received lots of interest from the audience who were keen to implement a similar approach in the south west. 

Sugar Tax Introduced

The sugar tax is part of the plan to tackle child obesity, aiming to encourage companies to reduce the amount of sugar in their soft drinks. The rates companies will need to pay are as follows: 
  • 24p per litre of drink if it contains 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.
  • 18p per litre of drink if it contains between 5 – 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres
The levy doesn't cover pure fruit juices or milk-based drinks.
The money raised, currently estimated to raise around £240 million per year, will go towards doubling the Primary Sports Premium, the creation of a Healthy Pupils Capital Fund to help schools upgrade their sports facilities, and give children access to top quality PE equipment, and also to give a funding boost for healthy school breakfast clubs.
Sue Carmichael, Public Health Lead for Healthy Lifestyles spoke to Spirit FM and said:
“As part of a wider, whole-system approach to tackling obesity, it has an important part to play.”
“If the cost that's being put onto the drinks manufacturers is being passed onto the consumer, it will be enough for some people to change their purchasing behaviour."
The Sugar Debate
Primary school sugar debates took place at Easebourne Primary School on 27th February. 34 pupils took part. There were 4 debates, and a range of fun activities in the afternoon focused on raising awareness of sugar reduction. 
Sugar reduction programme 
Further sugar reduction has occurred in the school meals provided through the Chartwell contract and they now contain 65% less sugar than they did two and a half years ago. In total 30,000 West Sussex children per day are benefiting. The daily sugar consumption has reduced from the 18.5g to 6.6g per child.

Alive N Kicking

The Weight Management Centre has continued to deliver Alive N Kicking weight management programme to children and young people throughout the year. To date 140 families have engaged with the programme, with half of them reducing or maintaining their weight. The majority of referrals into Alive N Kicking continue to come from the school programme STOP, and school nurses.

Testimonial from a mother of a young person who attended Alive N Kicking

"Since attending the Alive n Kicking programme I have found that as a parent I have noticed a huge difference in my daughters personality. Before the course she hated school and was bullied due to weight related issues. She seemed so unhappy I took her to the Doctors because I thought she may be depressed. Since regular exercise and losing some Weight there has been a massive difference in her behaviour at school and at home. It seems like a weight has been lifted, she has more enthusiasm towards exercise, eating and even going to school. She used to lay around and didn't want to leave the house now it's hard to keep her indoors! This has also had a knock affect into my life as a mum, I am much happier. My daughter is happy after what seems like a lifetime! Alongside side helping her I have also done extremely well and losing 6kgs in 8 weeks and I would highly recommend this programme to any kids suffering from being overweight, she has lost 2kg."

Be Food Smart

The Public Health England (PHE) BE Food Smart campaign launched nationally on 3rd January 2017, with the news stories that children are eating more than half of their daily sugar intake in their breakfast.

BBC Health News

The campaign feedback from PHE showed that 115 new registrations from West Sussex were logged onto the Change4Life website during the campaign period. 24,051 emails were sent from Change4Life to West Sussex residents with an average 12.8% open rate. Further changes to primary school meals provided by Chartwells have resulted in more sugar being removed.

Horsham Junior Citizens Event
Members of the Public Health Team and Horsham Wellbeing led ‘Be Food Smart’ Challenge, at this event which took place in early April. The annual event aims to teach essential life skills to over 1200 primary school children aged nine to eleven years old who attend schools within the Horsham district, through a number of fun and thought-provoking scenarios.

Be Food Smart Team visited Crawley!

The Public Health England (PHE) Be Food Smart Team visited Tesco Extra in Hazelwick, Crawley on Friday, 17th March 2017 to raise awareness of the Be Food Smart campaign and to encourage shoppers to download the free Be Food Smart app, which is available from the iTunes store or Google Play. The team provided advice to shoppers about the amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt found in popular family foods, and in some instances, shoppers decided to exchange their purchases for healthier options. The stand was in an area of high footfall in the store and the team had given out over 800 packs by lunch time.