New healthy eating campaign planned by Derbyshire County Council

A countywide healthy eating campaign aimed at tackling obesity and reducing heart attacks and strokes is being planned by Derbyshire County Council.

The Heart of Derbyshire healthy eating campaign, given the go-ahead by the county council’s Cabinet at its meeting this week (12 November), will have a number of elements all focussing on improving the health of people across Derbyshire through healthier food choices.

The campaign will include encouraging food producers, retailers and takeaway businesses to lower salt and fat content in their products and offer smaller portion sizes.

There are around 160,000 obese adults in Derbyshire (25.3%), with significant variations seen across the county, ranging from 23.03% in Derbyshire Dales to 27.4% in Bolsover.

Figures also show that more than 450,000 adults across the county do not eat the recommended five portions of fruit or vegetables every day.

One of the main elements of the county council’s public health driven Heart of Derbyshire healthy eating campaign will be the launch of a Heart of Derbyshire Awards Scheme.

The scheme will be a localised version of the national Responsibility Deal using resources produced by the Department of Health to encourage businesses to promote healthier choices.

The Heart of Derbyshire Awards Scheme will aim to increase the range and variety of healthy options and healthy food available to Derbyshire people, encourage and support the development of healthier options by providing advice and guidance and recognise the efforts and achievements of food producers and retailers.

Local food businesses will be encouraged to sign up to a series of pledges that contribute to health, such as smaller portion options or reduced salt and fat products.

Bronze, silver and gold awards will be presented to businesses based upon the number of pledges they make and they will be encouraged to keep to their pledges and add new ones each year.

The county council’s trading standards will monitor the businesses, working with district and borough council environmental health teams.

The new awards scheme will run alongside a series of countywide `Basic Cookery Skills on a Budget’ sessions, events and courses.

The cookery sessions will teach people basic skills on budgeting and shopping for food as well as showing them how to prepare balanced, nutritious meals.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “The number of obese people nationally is rising and we haven’t escaped this trend in Derbyshire.

“With obesity comes a host of associated health risks and we have to act now to try to stop the numbers rising even further.

“We hope that encouraging food producers and retailers to offer healthier choices and encouraging people to seek out healthier options is a good start.

“We don’t want to stop people enjoying their food, meals out and takeways, but we want to encourage them to opt for healthier choices when they do. They can only do this if these options are available which is why it’s essential that food businesses get on board with this campaign.”

More details will be released about the campaign as it is developed during 2014.