SUNDERLAND has become the first local authority in the North East to sign the Healthy Weight Declaration, underlining a commitment to supporting residents to live full and healthy lives.
Signing the declaration means that Sunderland City Council is committing to delivering practical measures to help the city’s residents stay healthy, and that health will be at the front of mind when planning new buildings, roads, or parks.
Future projects and events will also be organised with ‘healthy weight’ high on the agenda.
Sunderland is the first local authority to sign the declaration since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The city council’s Chief Executive Patrick Melia, Director of Public Health Gerry Taylor, and Portfolio Holder for Healthy City Cllr Kelly Chequer signed the declaration on behalf of Sunderland City Council at a virtual event held on 23 February.
The event was supported and attended by partners throughout the city who are also supporting the Healthy Weight agenda in Sunderland. The event showcased some of the fantastic work already happening throughout the city and focused on future priority areas.
Gerry Taylor, Sunderland’s Director of Public Health, said: “Over two thirds of adults in England are affected by unhealthy weight and more than one in five children start school overweight. We want to help address the similar picture here in Sunderland and make it as easy as possible for residents to live healthy lives.
“It is important to have such a commitment to healthy weight at a council level, so we can carry out work with all departments to ensure healthy weight is included in all policies.
“I’m really pleased that our council has taken this positive step. Some examples of what we will focus on include protecting our children from inappropriate marketing by the food and drink industry, such as advertising and marketing in close proximity to schools.
“We will also invest in creating an environment where it’s easier to make healthier choices and support action at national level, to help us as a local authority to promote healthy weight and reduce health inequalities in our community.”
Dr Robin Ireland, Director of Research at Food Active 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 delighted that Sunderland City Council is doing everything they can to help their residents, workers and pupils eat healthier by signing the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight today. The first in the North East to do so, I hope other councils across the region and beyond will follow their example.”
Dr Yitka Graham, Head of the Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute, Associate Professor, Health Services Research at the University of Sunderland, said: “We are proud to support Sunderland City Council’s launch of the Healthy Weight Declaration, which demonstrates their strong commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of the residents of Sunderland.
“By embedding the healthy weight declaration into policies, as organisations, we will be able to work together to ensure that we fulfill our collective vision that ‘everyone in Sunderland will have happy, healthy lives, with no one left behind’.”
To find out more about the Healthy Weight Declaration visit, https://foodactive.org.uk/what-we-do/influence-policy/local-authority-declaration-on-healthy-weight/