HEALTH leaders are calling for an emergency taskforce to be set up to tackle childhood obesity - of which Wigan has some of the highest rates in the country.
In an open letter to the chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, they say “an entire generation is being destroyed by a diet of junk food and sugary drinks”.
They want an action group, made up of doctors, nurses, dieticians, dentists and schools, to be set up urgently.
Currently, around one in five children under 11 are overweight or obese in Wigan borough.
Wigan health chiefs say they have improved statisics in recent years and are doing all they can to ensure youngsters lead as healthy a life as possible.
Dr Kate Ardern, Wigan’s director of public health said: “The challenge of maintaining a healthy weight is something many families struggle with. As a result Wigan Council has commissioned a new integrated service that includes a multi-component programme. It aims to educate, prevent and address all issues relating to diet, nutrition, and physical activity.
“The programme provides support to children, young people and families to achieve behavioural changes that will enable them to lead a healthy life. It covers the age range from birth to 17 years. The Let’s Get Movin’ programme is delivered by Wigan Leisure Culture Trust’s Active Living team on behalf of the council.
“The council is committed to giving every child in the borough the best start in life and to support families to lead healthy lifestyles. The service works across the age ranges and delivers to families, children and young people in a range of settings including children’s centres, primary and secondary schools, community and leisure venues.”
The Royal College of General Practitioners and 11 other organisations signed the letter, which has been timed to coincide with the start of the new school year.
In it, health leaders call for better co-ordination of obesity treatment services so that all children can be encouraged to eat healthily from a young age.
The Healthy Weight service, locally known as Let’s Get Movin’, is a series of interventions that aim to educate children, young people and their families about the importance of a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity.
For more call 01942 828812 or visit www.getactivewiganandleigh.co.uk