“There is so much that local councils can do to promote a better food environment, and indeed I see it as their duty to do so, for the benefit of the people they represent. Whether it’s good planning decisions to improve access to healthy food, nutrition standards for school meals and hospital catering, or promoting healthier catering in local businesses, bit by bit we can improve health prospects for everyone.”
Professor Tim Lang of the Centre for Food Policy at City University London, and member of the London Food Board
London Boroughs can take significant steps towards improving the health of Londoners by improving their access to fresh, healthy and affordable food, including the following:
- Promote the Healthier Catering Commitment to London’s food businesses. This is run by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH), and is already being promoted by environmental health officers, PCTs and others in London Boroughs. Contact Tay Potier at CIEH to find out more, tel: 020 7827 6306; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ensure there are sufficient pitches for fruit and vegetable stalls in street markets. Some boroughs also subsidise these stalls to ensure that fruit and vegetables are available, at affordable prices, to local residents. To find out more, contact Krys Zasada, Development Manager, National Association of British Market Authorities, www.nabma.com, and the markets page on this website. tel: 01691 680713, email: email@example.com.
Help address childhood obesity. This could include, for example running:
- the Food for Life programme in schools, signing up to Capital Growth, incorporating good food into local planning policy, controlling fast food outlets and fast food promotion near schools and school bus-stops, and installing and maintaining drinking water fountains in parks (see www.childrensfoodcampaign.org.uk)
- providing universal free school meals, so that all children benefit from healthier and more sustainable food. The London Boroughs of Islington, Southwark and Newham have already committed to doing so.
“Many Londoners experience significant health problems due in part to poor diets and the widespread availability of less healthy foods. The beauty of the Healthier Catering Commitment now being taken up by London boroughs and promoted by environmental health officers is that it encourages businesses to play their part in improving the healthiness of everyday food through simple, affordable and achievable steps.”
Mark Browne, Regional Public Health Group, Department of Health, and member of the London Food Board