Calderdale child obesity rates falling according to latest figures
Tackling childhood obesity has been a major success for Calderdale Council over the past year, with the last six months showing much improved results.
It is now doing so more successfully than most comparative northern boroughs, statistics published by the council and debated by Cabinet members showed when they met this week.
The councillors were considering the half year results included in the Best Borough In The North performance report, showing that overall Calderdale ranks sixth among 20 comparative boroughs throughout the north, where it was a year ago and up from the eighth position it finished in the annual report issued in the summer.
Sixteen key performance indicators and a series of other measures enable councils to compare how they are performing alongside comparable ones and see which councils are performing best in each sector, allowing for best practice to be highlighted.
One area which had needed serious improvement was childhood obesity, with the last data showing Calderdale was ranking 16th out of 20 in terms of tackling excess weight among four to five year olds, also ranking in mid table – eighth – on the same issue for ten and 11-year-olds.
In six months Calderdale is ranking fifth and fourth respectively, with dramatic improvements in the earlier age group, bringing good health outcomes for children, said Cabinet member for Resources, Coun Silvia Dacre (Lab, Todmorden).
“It is excellent news for those children who will have better life chances – it is really important to prevent that excess weight happening in the early years,” she said.
Each report focuses on performance in a handful of indicators and councillors were also asked to note continued improvements in recycling with Calderdale ranking seventh out of 20 for household waste, said Coun Dacre.
Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) said there were areas of performance which needed improving and referred to data showing Calderdale ranking 15th in terms of employment rate which was below the regional and national average.
He referenced the recent Local Plan hearings which assumed an economic growth rate he said was twice that made by national analysts – the figures here seemed to indicate only around half the number of homes projected in it might be required.
This had implications for green belt land and possible borrowing to meet infrastructure needs, he said.
Coun James Baker (Lib Dem, Warley) said one of the indicators Calderdale was doing worst in was new homes, where it rated 18th out of 20.
The council could also set better “green” goals and had to become more commercial in times when it sought to do more and more with less and less resources, requiring fresh approaches to ideas that would bring more money in.