County Hall gates

Scheme to help improve children's health and wellbeing

A five year scheme to improve the health and wellbeing of youngsters in Lancashire is set to be approved later today, at the next Lancashire County Council meeting this afternoon (October 5).

The scheme aims to help primary school aged children to stay within healthy weight ranges and encourage families to adopt healthy lifestyles.

It comes as the most recent national Child Measurement Programme statistics show that more than one in five (22.3%) of children aged four to five-years-old are overweight or obese, and more than a third (37.8%) of children aged 10 to 11 years.

In total, £850,000 from Lancashire's Public Health Grant will be used to fund the scheme, which will be aimed at adults, families and young people as part of a holistic model.

The scheme will build on work already taking place through the adult healthy weight programme and PASTA (Play and skills at tea-time activities) programme, which is a fun, friendly activity programme where families can cook, play and spend time together.

It is currently designed for children aged five to eight and their families, including older and younger siblings in focussed areas of Lancashire. 

PASTA helps families to:

  • learn to cook easy, affordable meals
  • get support and encourage your family to try healthy foods
  • take part in fun physical activities
  • socialise with other families

County Councillor Michael Green, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "We want the very best for the county's children and a big part of that is ensuring that they are healthy.

"Tackling rising obesity levels in children is vitally important.

"By focussing on helping families to learn to cook easy, affordable meals, we will help them to save money, become healthier and gain from the advantages of eating five fruits and vegetables a day.

"If you are overweight or obese, this can lead to a higher risk for many serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes and we definitely want our children to avoid these if they can.

"Moving towards a healthy body weight can often mean that people feel less breathless and more energetic."

"We are taking a collaborative approach to achieve improved outcomes and will develop this approach further over the next five years in collaboration with our district council partners."

Notes to editors

Notes to editors:

The latest data shows that there are 651,533 overweight or obese adults (aged 16 and over) in Lancashire, and almost half of these (323,027; 49.5%) of those reside in the areas of highest deprivation.

In Lancashire, 23.8% of reception age children overweight or obese (slightly above average), increasing to 35.8% of children aged 10-11 (slightly below average). Although this is similar to the England average, the number is increasing.