At a recent meeting of Mid Devon Council’s Community Policy Development Group, obesity was identified as a pressing concern.
The group agreed on the importance of addressing the health problems of obesity. The councillors considered the different ways to promote campaigns such as Sugar Start Programme and the Healthy Weight Deprivation, to tackle obesity.
Public Health Officer, Kevin Swift said, “Public Health can signpost people into a lot of the campaigns that run nationally and also Devon County.”
On this note, several issues were raised about using such campaigns.
The Manager for Public Health, Simon Newcombe, expressed reservations on the financial resources needed to make the campaigns successful. He said provisions have not been made in the current budget year, and will be difficult to secure in the future.
Councillor Eileen Andrews and Councillor Ron Dolley also expressed reservations.
Andrews said she would prefer if money geared towards tackling obesity was used in a more active way. She suggested making sports centres cheaper and free, rather than a scheme that tells you what to eat and what not to.
Dolley reminded everyone that the money is generated from the public. That has to be put into consideration when deciding how much can be used.
Councillor Colin Slade suggested that the use of social media and press outlets would be a cost-effective way to promote the campaigns. It would only take a few working hours a week to research and draft a message.
The group is expected to reconvene later in the month with suggestions for a communications strategy.