Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Childhood obesity - Programmes - Impact on Urban Health
Child running in sunshine on playground

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

Overview of the programme

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 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 and 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. Still, 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.

Programme impact last financial year


children reached through our programme


different interventions trialled to tackle childhood obesity


different places worked in, including 42 schools and early years settings
Children playing with toy food and cooking equipment

How to talk about childhood obesity

With the FrameWorks Institute, we've developed a guide to talking about childhood obesity. By using these communication principles, we can talk about health issues in ways that help people think differently.

Health first: a framing toolkit

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


We partner with other organisations 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. Given 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 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.

Sarah Hickey, Programme Director for childhood obesity

Have an idea to tackle childhood obesity?

Find out how we could support you or speak to our Programme Director, Sarah Hickey

Become a partner Contact our Programme Director, Sarah

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