The great weight debate

In April 2017, Barking and Dagenham decided to fully embrace the national Great Weight Debate and run a yearlong campaign which had the very same aims to engage and involve Londoners in the future of their children’s health with the aim of tackling obesity.

We modified the London Survey to make it specific to Barking and Dagenham and held a number of hackathons which engaged residents in specific questions about childhood obesity and how we could tackle the issue.

We asked if residents are aware of the extent of childhood obesity locally, which factors they think contribute to unhealthy weight in children, and for ideas on how children and families could lead healthier lives.

A total of 325 surveys were completed and below are the results:

  • 9 out of 10 people believe tackling childhood obesity in London was either very important or important.


Residents thought the following three reasons were the top causes of childhood obesity in Barking and Dagenham:

  • Too many cheap, unhealthy food and drink options
  • Too many fast food shops
  • Safety concerns for children


Residents believed the following three reasons encourage a healthy lifestyle for children:

  • Parks
  • Local leisure facilities
  • Local sport and leisure


Residents ranked the following options as the top three reasons of how the borough can further support children to lead healthier lives.

  • Cheaper, healthier food and drink
  • Limits on number of fast food shops
  • Making parks more safe and accessible


These responses will shape what’s on offer locally and future plans the council make, so thank you to everyone who completed the survey.