Major strides have been made in providing the best start in life for London’s children. However, London still lags behind other national and global cities in many child health-related areas, ranging from mortality and serious illness to mental health, common diseases such as asthma and public health issues like obesity.
We aim to ensure that all children are school-ready by age five, achieve a 10 per cent reduction in the proportion of children obese by year six and reverse the trend in those who are overweight.
System-wide action on child obesity
Many local Health and Wellbeing Board strategies prioritise action on childhood obesity. Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest and Barking & Dagenham have instituted fast food exclusion zones near schools and similar plans are underway in many other boroughs. Boroughs are also making healthier alternatives more accessible.
The London Association of Directors of Public Health network is leading child obesity efforts in different parts of the city. A London Obesity Leadership Group has been established to bring together the GLA, PHE London, HLP, planners, directors of public health, academics and third sector organisations, such as the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. The group will support locally-based interventions that have been shown to reduce child obesity.
Supporting London’s vulnerable young children
PHE London and NHS England (London) have worked closely with boroughs to ensure a good transfer of health visiting from the NHS to boroughs to strengthen this service in the places that support parents in the early years.
Promoting health and wellbeing at school
PHE London are working with Ofsted to enhance health and wellbeing across education and promote a healthy learning environment. Ofsted has now developed standards on health and wellbeing through this collaboration.
The Mayor’s Healthy Schools London programme is working with over 1,500 schools and 25 boroughs to recognise schools that are creating health enhancing learning environments, through healthy meals, anti-bullying programmes, walking and cycling to school and supporting pupils to build positive relationships. Two thirds of London’s schools are now part of this programme.
Improving the quality of care for children
HLP is designing easier to access, more streamlined, reliable care for children and young people that reduces variation across London. HLP is working with health and care commissioners and providers through networks of geographical populations. The first network has been established in south west London, co-chaired by a paediatrician and director of children’s social services. CCGs and boroughs are also working together more closely to provide more seamless health and care to children and young people.
HLP is developing Londonwide quality standards, with acute care and asthma standards published and high dependency and out-of-hospital care standards in development. These are providing CCGs with the tools to commission safe, effective high quality services for their local population and enabling providers to improve their services.
Supporting mental health and wellbeing
PHE London is supporting mental health academics and schools to promote adolescent resilience. HLP is running study clubs across London that bring together commissioners from CCGs, boroughs and NHS England to support child and adolescent mental health service transformation. HLP is also sharing best practice examples in children and young people’s mental health.
St Peter’s London Docks Primary School in Tower Hamlets, supported by the Borough’s Healthy Lives Team, has achieved a Healthy Schools London Silver Award. The school has implemented family style dining where pupils serve the food themselves from the table. This increases independence and maturity and encourages pupils to try the food on offer.