Call for healthier eating programme in Wrexham

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

COMMUNITY leaders are calling for healthier school meals after shocking figures revealed roughly half of Wrexham’s adult population is overweight or obese.

At a meeting of Wrexham Council’s social affairs health and housing scrutiny committee, councillors were faced with stark figures which also revealed one in four children aged eight and nine had severe weight problems.

In a report tabled at the meeting a number of “healthy eating” and “being more active” plans were put forward including more nutritionally balanced school dinners and encouraging people to walk or cycle to school or work.

Cllr Ron Davies, who chaired the meeting, said: “Some schools don’t let children off the site at lunchtime which obviously helps cut their access to unhealthy food but that will only work if the food being offered in school provides a healthy alternative.

“And it’s all well and good that this report says there were more than 500,000 visits by adults to leisure centres but they’re not going to get any fitter or healthier if they’re eating rubbish afterwards – we need to look at the food available in gym vending machines and canteens to make sure there are healthy options.”

But concerns were raised that Wrexham would descend into a so-called ‘nanny state’ if the council became too forceful over the issue.

Cllr Alan Edwards, of the New Broughton ward, said: “It’s all very well saying we need to stock more healthy snack bars and drinks in gyms and schools but they’re much dearer and a lot of families can’t afford them.

“I think we can go overboard in telling people what to eat and drink, sometimes we go too far.”

However, it was agreed that better health and fitness education was vital in order to beat the increase in obesity-related problems such as coronary heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

Cllr Mark Pritchard said: “We don’t want to be nanny state but we need to get across the importance of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, and education at very early age is the best way to do that.”

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