Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Childhood obesity - Programmes - Impact on Urban Health


We want to break the link between low income and poor nutrition, by improving the quality of food options in lower-income neighbourhoods

Why we focus on childhood obesity

All children should have the opportunity to be healthy, no matter where they live. This includes access to a nutritious diet.

Yet children’s chances of accessing healthy food – or being flooded with unhealthy food – depend strongly on where they grow up. As a result, children living in areas of lower average income are more likely to be both malnourished and obese.

We believe that by coordinating efforts from different organisations and individuals, we can have an impact on unequal access to nutritious food.

Key facts about childhood obesity


Nearly 40% of all children in London are overweight or obese


Five-year-olds from the poorest income groups are twice as likely to be obese


By age 11, these same children are three times more likely to be obese

How we are addressing childhood obesity

Overview of our programme

We are running a ten-year programme to improve children’s health in urban areas by tackling childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity is a complex global issue. It’s a major challenge in London, which has the highest rates of any global city. It is also a particular issue in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark – where we work – which have some of the highest rates in the country. However, although the issue is complex, we believe solutions don’t have to be.

Our programme is working to change the food environments in places where children and families spend their time, so that eating well is the easiest – not hardest – thing to do.

Finally, we are focusing in the areas in Lambeth and Southwark that are flooded with unhealthy food. By learning what works to change food environments in Lambeth and Southwark, we hope to reduce obesity rates there and influence others to take up successful approaches in other low-income, urban neighbourhoods.



Knowing the incredibly strong link between childhood obesity and income, we set out to understand more about the area and communities living there. We explore characteristics like ethnic background, type of housing, or employment.

The data pointed to higher levels of ethnic diversity in areas with high levels of childhood obesity. This helped us better understand the make-up of the neighbourhoods where we might work.

Partnering with others

Become a partner

We partner with other organisations in order to deliver projects, conduct research and amplify our results.

As food environments are influenced by businesses, government and our own communities, creating change requires working with a wide range of partners. In practice, this means we layer up different activities and work with a range of organisations to test and run projects that can tackle the issue from many angles.

As a result of the clear link between an area’s average income and obesity, we focus our efforts in the areas with lower average incomes, where childhood obesity rates are highest. 

The projects and activities within our programme focus on three areas to make sure children and families can live healthy lives: streets, schools and homes. This means that we work across these different environments in order to make an impact on closing the inequality gap.

We sit on London’s Child Obesity Taskforce (GOV.UK) to have a part in shaping children’s health across London and beyond. We are also supported by a committee of cross-sector experts who challenge and advise us on how to have the most impact.

Childhood obesity programme approach visualisation

[We share] a valuable partnership with Impact on Urban Health focused around our shared ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030. Together we are able to expand our reach and impact, and deliver targeted interventions that will help stem the flood of unhealthy food on our high streets, screens and school canteens and improve the flow of healthy options for every child.

Nicki Whiteman Director of Communications, Bite Back 2030

Our impact last year


in funding given to projects addressing childhood obesity


different interventions trialled to tackle childhood obesity


different places worked in, including 42 schools and early years settings