Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Our approach to childhood obesity - Impact on Urban Health
Teenagers socialising near a skate park

Our approach to childhood obesity

How our programme works to reduce the inequality gap in rates of childhood obesity

Our childhood obesity programme focuses on making sure all children have healthy food options and places to run and play. We do this by redesigning the spaces where children and families spend their time.


Why do we focus on childhood obesity?

All children should have the opportunity to be healthy, no matter where they live. Yet children’s chances of being overweight depend strongly on where they grow up.

The problem is more pronounced in areas with lower incomes. There is a clear link between an area’s average income and obesity. Five-year-olds from the poorest income groups are twice as likely to be obese compared to their most well-off counterparts. By age 11, they are three times more likely.


How will we achieve our goal of closing the childhood obesity inequality gap?

To meet our goal, we are working in 14 wards that are flooded with unhealthy food and have limited places for children to run and play. By targeting areas with unhealthy food environments, we will engage with more than 60,000 children across our boroughs and reduce the gap in childhood obesity rates between lower-income and more affluent areas by 25%.

We layer different activities and work with a range of organisations – from government and businesses to community groups and residents – to test and run projects that can tackle the issue from many angles.

We also work at different scales to increase the flow of healthy options for children and families. Some levers for change exist locally and some involve national or international partnerships. As a result, we support a range of initiatives from projects in local neighbourhoods all the way to collaborations with multinational businesses.

Finally, we use detailed insights from our work in inner-city London to influence national policy and practice.

Childhood obesity programme approach visualisation