COUNCILLORS are hoping that more work can take place to tackle childhood obesity.

Cheshire East already has the lowest levels of childhood obesity in the north west according to Public Health England.

But the council is not resting on its laurels, having announced last week that it is encouraging families to ditch fizzy drinks next month in the Fizz Free February campaign.

And at Tuesday’s Cheshire East health and wellbeing board meeting, members on both sides of the political divide agreed that there is more that can be done to tackle the problem.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council’s Labour opposition, said: “I would praise the council for adopting the Fizz Free February campaign, trying to stop young children drinking fizzy drinks in February.

Knutsford Guardian:

“I think we could do more. We all know that you have got to improve your diet – we need to eat less red meat and more fruit and vegetables.

“I think that the council could be doing a lot of work in that, promoting a good diet in schools, and we could also promote exercise – less car travel, more walking and cycling.”

Conservative Cllr Jos Saunders, cabinet member for children and families, told the board that CEC’s children’s centres are now offering cooking lessons to parents – which she hopes could help get youngsters into good habits.

She said: “We know that a lot of schools now don’t offer food technology, so if we can do it maybe when children are small – and it seems the norm to eat with your mum and dad rather than sat [with food] on your knee in front of the telly – something like that would help.

Knutsford Guardian:

“It is getting back to basics. It is getting back to what our grandparents and great-grandparents used to do almost, which is a bit sad in this day in age because we have made such strides in other areas of health.

“I don’t think you can be totally prescriptive. We can’t tell people what to do, we have to give them the tools to do it themselves. It is taking responsibility for ourselves.”

Members of the health and wellbeing board – which includes councillors and representatives from local NHS bodies – had been speaking on the shift towards prevention in the new NHS long-term plan.

Mark Palethorpe, acting executive director of people at CEC, told the board that the council is pushing to offer balanced meals for children in school.

He added that schools in the borough also take part in the Daily Mile challenge – which gets youngsters running for 15 minutes a day.