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Health Series: Research Spotlight

Learning from London's Child Obesity Taskforce

The George Institute UK interviewed Vice-Chair of the Taskforce, Professor Corinna Hawkes, to share its key learnings and their potential use by other cities.

by Shamim Quadir (Senior Communications Officer)

Professor Corinna Hawkes is Director of the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London. She is also Vice-Chair of London’s Child Obesity Taskforce and a Distinguished Fellow of The George Institute for Global Health.

Produced by The George Institute UK, and first published last week, Professor Hawkes features in a seven-and-a-half minute video interview outlining the journey of London’s Child Obesity Taskforce from its conception, to looking forward to its wider global aims.

In the video, entitled, ‘Creating a Sustainable, Healthy Food Environment: Learning from the London Child Obesity Taskforce.’, Professor Hawkes answers the questions of why the Taskforce is focused on children, what a healthy food environment actually looks like, what the challenges are for London’s children to be healthy, and how sustainable change is created.

She also suggests what other cities can learn from the London model, which can be summarised as:

1.Understanding the reality of children’s lives and those of their caregivers as a means of identifying which actions are going to work;

2.Building on existing knowledge, activities and assets, with the city’s people the most important assets;

3.Cities test out combination of actions to best affect change, which could pave the way for adoption by nations.

Watch the interview

London's Child Obesity Taskforce

London’s Child Obesity Taskforce is an independent body with the aim of ensuring every child in the capital can grow up eating healthily, drinking plenty of water and being physically active.

The Taskforce was formed after London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, produced a Health Inequalities Strategy in September 2018, outlining his concern about the high rates of child obesity in the capital.

In September 2019, the Taskforce published Every Child a Healthy Weight, setting out 10 ambitions to ensure a healthier London. The report includes a powerful commitment to halve the percentage of the capital’s primary school children who are overweight, and to reduce health inequalities in rates of obesity between the richest and poorest areas by 2030.

The George Institute for Global Health

The George Institute for Global Health is an independent medical research institute established and headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with major centres in China, India and the UK and an international network of experts and collaborators.

As a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute, Professor Hawkes gave the keynote address at the ‘Creating healthy, sustainable, city food environments’, thought leadership event in June, drawing on her work as Vice-Chair of the London Child Obesity Taskforce.

Centre for Food Policy at City

The Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London is an interdisciplinary centre, and one of the very few places in the world dedicated to studying and influencing food policy.

Its work involves providing independent, inter-disciplinary evidence and education to enable food policy to be more effective and equitable.

The Centre's vision is to see food policy effectively and equitably addressing the world’s major food system challenges locally, in nations and globally in order to improve the well-being of people and the planet.

To find out more about the Centre including its current research areas and education opportunities, visit the Centre for Food Policy pages on our website.

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