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Councillors’ concerns over childhood obesity epidemic

March 15, 2017 6:36 PM

Otley and Yeadon councillors Sandy Lay, Colin Campbell and Ryk Downes have called for more targeted support for parents and families after figures show that nearly a fifth of all ten year olds in Otley and Yeadon are now obese.

The local results also show that Otley and Yeadon ranks in the top ten worst wards in Leeds for obesity in four year olds. Experts have concluded that obesity at such a young age can lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and respiratory, heart, bone and joint problems even in childhood, while studies have shown that their lives could be shortened by as much as seven years on average, compared to non-obese people.

The councillors have therefore called upon the council to provide better support for parents, and put in place measures to help children live healthier and longer.

Cllr Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: "As a nurse, I come face to face with the serious effects that obesity can have on someone's life every day.

It's not just diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or cancers that affect obese patients but everyday effects like reduced mobility, breathing difficulties and sleep problems to name but a few. These are the less obvious impacts of obesity that result in isolation, loneliness and early death in later life.

Nearly one in five (18%) ten year olds in Otley & Yeadon are obese and I don't want that to be their future so whether it is through promoting healthier activities, supporting health and nutrition education or assisting families to access facilities, the council must help this figure to fall."

Cllr Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: "I have been calling for a number of years for Leeds to introduce planning policies to limit the number of hot food takeaways in shopping areas and adjacent to local schools. I am pleased to say that Leeds is beginning to move in that direction with a proposed ban on new takeaways within 400 meters of school gates but the result of the council's inaction can now clearly be seen in these figures.

I'm relieved that they are finally listening but think how many of these children's lives could be different had they listened sooner."

Cllr Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: "Living an active and healthy childhood needn't be difficult, especially if the council provides parents with support and advice. The ward has many activities that could be promoted from the Sailing and Activity Centre at Yeadon Tarn to the Chevin itself and its surrounding forest park. We must act now or it will be too late for the next generation."