A new reports has revealed that almost two thirds of Calderdale’s adult residents are obese.
The statistic places Calderdale as the sixth lowest out of 20 northern boroughs and around the around the national average.
Initiatives to encourage healthier living and eating particularly among the young have been put in place, said a report to councillors.
Calderdale Council’s Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board considered and commented on the issue when it met at Halifax Town Hall.
Using methodology and definition set by Sport England’s Active Lives Survey, this revised criteria is not comparable with previous Calderdale surveys but is similar to national averages.
Although the 62.5 per cent figure refers to Calderdale’s adults, there are underlying concerns about younger age groups for which measures are also in place to address the issue.
The latest information concludes prevalence of excess weight among four and five-year-olds and excess weight in ten and 11-year-olds has increased significantly in the decade up to 2016-17, from which the statistics have been derived, ranking Calderdale third and fifth lowest respectively in these cases.
Councillors were concerned about the effect obesity might have on the borough’s children and adults.
Chairing the board, Councillor Paul Bellinger (Liberal Democrat, Greetland and Stainland) asked if there were any measures in place would show an impact within a shorter period of time as long-term impact of measures in place had not yet been fully evaluated.
Councillor Jenny Lynn (Labour, Park) said it would be interesting to see how many planning applications for takeaways, particularly in the vicinity of schools, had been submitted to the council over a five-year period.
She said the council also needed to look at people who were struggling to make ends meet and the effect this might have on their diet and health.
Officers reported that a number of schemes had been rolled out under the Active Calderdale programme.
These ranged from improving workplace health via walks, yoga, running, cycling and more to signing up to national campaign Sugar Smart. There were also a host of school-based initiatives aiming to improve the diet and help of Calderdale’s children and young people.
These include promoting healthy eating awareness and initiatives as well as encouraging use of physical education for whole school physical activity results.
There are plans to set up an Active Calderdale Board to boost its profile and set about systematically tackling issues of obesity, health and physical fitness.