£300,000 awarded to Birmingham for Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme

Published: Tuesday, 25th June 2019

Birmingham has been announced as one of five Trailblazer Authorities that will lead innovative action in the local community to tackle childhood obesity as part of a three year programme.

The authority has been awarded £300,000 over the three years which will test and refine ideas for addressing childhood obesity and health inequalities across the city.

The Department of Health and Social Care, the Local Government Association and Public Health England (PHE) are supporting Birmingham City Council to trial new programmes, which could help shape future national policy.

The programme in Birmingham will look to offer health, food, nutrition and physical-activity focused apprenticeships for 15 to 19 year olds in deprived areas, where obesity rates are highest. It will also work with local universities to embed health messaging in wider employment training to upskill a generation that could apply their knowledge in the home and as future parents. The project plans to create an innovative alternative local metric, the “Birmingham Basket” which would capture local retail spend metrics to identify consumer retail habits and inform policy development and measure the impact of the initiatives.

Cllr Paulette Hamilton, cabinet member for adult social care and health at Birmingham City Council, said: “Childhood obesity remains a serious problem, not just in Birmingham but across the entire country. There is no single solution to tackling health issues among young people, but working with partners and communities across the city to see what solutions exist at grassroots and city wide levels is vital. The Trailblazer scheme will help us accelerate our approach to developing a truly healthy food environment in the city, alongside our existing programmes to create a more active city, to create a city where every citizen can thrive’

These programmes will help the government to consider further steps that could be taken to enable local action on childhood obesity and is part of the Trailblazer programme and the second chapter of the government’s childhood obesity plan, which was launched last year.

Dr Justin Varney, director of public health at Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham’s approach to the trailblazer programme is rooted in strong partnerships and citizens voices. The emphasis is on getting upstream of the food environment through skills and education as well as maximising the potential levers of economic growth to create a city where healthy food is affordable, accessible and the easiest, most delicious option for everyone. We know that we won’t achieve this overnight, but the trailblazer allows us to build on our current approach at pace, while learning in partnership with others.”

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