Why we need an alliance against obesity

We know that tackling obesity is complex and evidence suggests that any single intervention is unlikely to be effective on its own. The Foresight Tackling Obesities systems map (external link – PDF, 10MB) identifies over a hundred contributing factors.

Haringey is tackling obesity by developing a whole systems approach which includes a strong place based approach to the built environment. This includes a range of population level interventions which rely less on conscious choices by individuals and more on changes to the environment and society norms through strong healthy public policy that promotes behaviour change.

Across the world obesity has more than doubled since 1980. Haringey is no exception to this problem. Over half of all adults and one in three 10 and 11 year olds living in the borough are now classed as obese or overweight.

Being obese has serious implications for individual’s health. Obese people are at greater risk of developing long term health conditions and have lower average life expectancies than the rest of the population.

Among school children there is a clear link between obesity and low educational attainment. And for public services trying to cope in already difficult circumstances, obesity presents a costly drain on resources. In Haringey alone obesity is estimated to cost the NHS more than £81 million each year.

Reducing obesity will require persistent effort to bring about sustained change, creating a healthier Haringey where the healthier choice is the easy choice. In Haringey we’re working hard to reverse this trend but we recognise that this problem is too large for any one organisation to solve on its own. By coming together in an Alliance, we can boost organisations’ efforts through providing a platform and forum for partners to advocate, develop and coordinate activities and projects.

The Haringey Obesity Alliance therefore brings together likeminded organisations and individuals into a single, coordinated partnership to collectively combat obesity in Haringey.

Working together the alliance will support people to eat better, be more physically active and help to create an environment where it is easier for people to make healthier choices.