“Overweight and obesity represent probably the most widespread threat to health and well being in the country.”
Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A call to action on obesity in England, HM Government, Oct 2011.

Planning can support the creation of healthier environments both in the short and longer term including policies and initiatives to encourage and/or support:

  • walking and cycling,
  • improvements to play space
  • provision and protection of open space, recreation areas and leisure facilities
  • improvements to children’s play space
  • local food production
  • control of hot food takeaways

The Government’s 2011 call for action on obesity seeks to achieve:

  • a sustained downward trend in the level of excess weight in children by 2020
  • a downward trend in the level of excess weight averaged across all adults by 2020

Achieving this turn-round requires a range of actions at both national and local level which encourage reductions in calorie intake, more active lifestyles and tailored interventions to tackle other more complex causes of obesity.

London has a higher prevalence of overweight and obese children than the rest of the UK. Tackling obesity, and reducing child obesity in particular, is a key priority for the Mayor – click here for more information on London-wide initiatives.

Further information on how the planning system can help support action on obesity can be found in HUDU’s Control of Hot Food Takeaways publication.

Public Health England have also recently (Nov 2013) produced two “Obesity and the environment briefings” on increasing physical activity and active travel and regulating the growth of fast food outlets; and the NICE website provides a range of evidence based advice on guidance on healthy lifestyles – see for example the NICE “pathways” on Obesity and Obesity: working with local communities.