Devon County Council become the first local authority in the South West to adopt the Healthy Weight Declaration

Devon County Council become the first local authority in the South West to adopt the Healthy Weight Declaration

We are pleased to announce that today, Devon County Council have become the first council in the South West to sign Food Active’s Local Government Declaration on Healthy Weight.

Cabinet member for Public Health, Roger Croad, signed the declaration in front of fellow council members at County Hall in Exeter today (October 7 – pictured above).

By signing the declaration, the council is showing a commitment to reducing the number of people who are overweight or obese in Devon by helping residents to make better choices. The declaration includes a series of pledges that the local authority will make to help improve access to healthier food and drink options across its own organisation and across the county.

Cllr Roger Croad, Cabinet member for Public Health, said:

“We all know how difficult it is to make the right choices when we are surrounded by unhealthy food, the wrong advertising messages and when sugary drinks are cheaper than water. I am proud that Devon County Council are making this commitment to improve the healthy, lower sugar food options available to residents in Devon and working with food businesses to achieve this.”

The Declaration was launched by Food Active in 2015, with Blackpool Council being the first local authority to sign. Since then, to date there are 19 local authorities (district, unitary and county) across England who have signed the declaration to make a commitment to promoting healthy weight in their communities.

As part of the journey towards adoption, a recent survey of members of the public in Devon, conducted by Devon Public Health, found that 72.5% of respondents said that their main concern was the effect of food and drink on their child’s dental health, with many having additional concerns about the impact on their child’s weight, behaviour and mood. The negative impact of high-sugar diets on young people in Devon can clearly be seen in communities, with 1 in 5 children now starting school with tooth decay and the same number living with excess weight.

The declaration is underpinned by 14 standard commitments, including: considering commercial partnerships, provision of food and drink in public buildings, facilities and providers, supplementary guidance for hot food takeaways and infrastructure to influence active travel. A support pack and monitoring and evaluation tool is also provided to local authorities, to support them on their journey. There is also an opportunity for local authorities to develop and sign up to any local commitments that are specific to the needs of the local community. Devon County Council have been working towards these local pledges for the declaration and are currently considering making water freely available across its sites, encouraging schools to sign up and be Sugar Smart, banning the advertising of junk foods on its campuses and encouraging responsible retailing by supporting the voluntary ban of energy drinks to under 16-year-olds. Earlier this year, Richard Merrifield, Advanced Public Health Practitioner at Devon County Council, wrote a guest blog for Food Active to discuss the council’s journey towards adoption – click here to find out more.

If you would like to get in touch to find out more about how the Declaration could be adopted in your local authority, please contact info@foodactive.org.uk or call 0151 237 2686.


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