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School plan to target obesity as pupils grow own food

If you've tried - and failed - to get your children eating more healthily, here's an idea from a school in West London, that may encourage more kids to eat their greens.

Pupils at Phoenix High School in Shepherd's Bush are being urged to change their diet simply by learning where food comes from.

In the latest in our series putting the Focus on Obesity, Ruth Zorko reports from the school farm:

Parents underestimate children's weight

Weighing scales Credit: PA

Research by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and UCL Institute of Child Health suggests that many parents with obese children may not recognise that their child is overweight, unless they are at very extreme levels of obesity.

The study claims parents were more likely to underestimate their child's weight if the child was male or if they were black or south Asian, or from more deprived backgrounds.

The researchers explained that parents' underestimations may be caused by a fear of being judged or an unwillingness to label a child as overweight.


Taxing sugary drinks could save London £39m

Taxing sugary drinks could save the NHS in London £39 million over the next twenty years.

The Children's Food Campaign claims charging 20 pence per litre would reduce rates of diabetes, strokes and heart disease, and in doing so reduce pressure on the health service.

The research, published in association with University of Liverpool academic Brendan Collins and FoodActive, shows the impact in London over twenty years would be to:

  • reduce the cases of diabetes by over 6300
  • prevent over 1100 cases of cancer
  • reduce strokes and cases of coronary heart disease by over 4300
  • improve the quality of life for thousands of residents

The London boroughs set to gain the most savings and health benefits from a sugary drinks duty include Croydon, Enfield, Southwark, Bromley, Newham and Lewisham.

In addition, the impact on calorie reduction will be greatest in boroughs such as Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Barking and Dagenham and Haringey, which have the highest proportion of demographics who consume the most sugary drinks.

Think-tank's controversial proposal for cutting obesity

A think-tank's proposal that obese benefits claimants, who refuse to exercise, should have their payments cut, has sparked heated debate on Twitter:


Could your weight be linked to benefit payouts in future?

A new report from a government think tank has suggested that overweight benefit claimants could have their money docked if they refuse exercise regimes prescribed by doctors under pioneering council plans. We asked you if this was a good idea, here are some of your thoughts.

Report: Councils can save lives while cutting NHS bill

A major new report from a leading think-tank and a flagship London council is paving the way for radical reform in public health from April 2013.

A Dose of Localism: The Role of Council in Public Health is a report by the Local Government Information Unit and Westminster City Council which outlines recommendations to implement early intervention techniques and link them to existing council services to help save more lives and money.

It includes details on:

  • Linking welfare to healthy living; cash incentives in terms of benefits for those that use council leisure facilities and rewarding those that take responsibility for their own health
  • Allowing GPs to prescribe leisure activities like swimming and fitness classes as treatment for certain conditions
  • Reducing red tape for smaller, non-alcohol-led venues to encourage a more responsible approach to drinking and create the café culture that 24-hour drinking laws promised but never delivered

Obese claimants who refuse to exercise could have benefits cut

An obese man in London. Credit: PA

Obese benefits claimants who refuse to exercise could have their payments cut under plans being considered by a local council.

The initiative would see obese and overweight people being prescribed physical activity sessions by their GP at the council's leisure facilities and then being penalised if they fail to turn up or rewarded if they do.

Westminster City Council will publish a report on the scheme today in conjunction with the think-tank the Local Government Information Unit.

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