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Tackling childhood obesity in our borough

We are tackling childhood obesity in the borough through a Government backed scheme focused on advertising.

Childhood obesity in our borough

One in five children are obese or overweight when they start reception class at primary school – similar to the national average. Two in five children are obese or overweight when they start secondary school, which is higher than the national average.

Funding to tackle childhood obesity

We have been awarded £300,000 from 2020 to 2023 to support our work to tackle childhood obesity.

We are one of five councils selected for the Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme (COTP).

This is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Local Government Association is managing it with support from Public Health England. The Lewisham COTP is a unique partnership between the advertising industry and the public sector.

How the scheme will tackle childhood obesity

We will use the funding to test our powers to:

  • restrict products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) advertising
  • harness outdoor advertising space for health promoting advertisements.

Restricting high fat, sugar and salt advertising

The advertising estates in the borough like billboards, digital screens and bus stop advertising belong to various owners. We will introduce voluntary advertising restrictions across the borough through contracts with major advertising estate owners working in partnership with:

Taking the lead from TfL’s advertising restrictions

This builds on the Transport for London (TfL) HFSS advertising restrictions across its estates in London.

TfL oversee 50% of the advertising space in the borough. From 2020 to 2021 these restrictions will extend to all JCDecaux owned estate. This will mean HFSS restrictions across 80% of out of home (OOH) advertising space. The aim is for a 100% restriction by 2022.

Advertising space for health campaigns

We have formed a new partnership with JCDecaux to access digital screens and unused advertising space.

The advertising space will be used to promote tailored local public health campaigns, supporting our approach to reduce obesity such as:

  • Sugar Smart Lewisham, which supports local businesses to offer healthier options
  • the Daily Mile, to improve the physical activity levels in children.

Residents and businesses are getting involved

Our public health campaigns will be co-produced with local communities. The Young Mayor’s team have worked with young people on our first campaign to influence local businesses and asking them to sign up to the Sugar Smart campaign.

We have been talking to local groups and residents about the type of messaging and images that they find most effective for outdoor advertising.

Find out more about the opportunity for local community organisations to help design posters that promote healthy choices.


You can contact us on publichhealthteamlewisham.gov.uk.