Our Platform for Health and Wellbeing is a new public health approach working to reduce obesity in local communities. Established in 2010 it brings together Private, Public and Community and Voluntary Sector organisations. Its members make voluntary commitments, which encourage and enable behaviour change – Ultimately, getting more people to be a healthy weight, to move more and eat well.
Now hosted by East Midlands Councils, the Platform is jointly led by public health and local authority champions. Councillor David Parsons, chairs the Platform. In order to join, members are required to sign up to the Platform Declaration, so recognising their responsibility in helping to reduce and prevent obesity. They make a voluntary commitment to take action over and above what they are already doing.
These commitments vary depending on the sphere of influence of each member. For example;
- The commitment may relate to the products and services that an organisation produces or provides e.g. reformulation of foods by manufactures, retailers and caterers
- Increasing access to leisure or weight management services.
- Members can create an environment that makes the ‘healthy choice’ the ‘easy choice’ through workplace health policies, or through influencing planning and transport systems.
- Members can support and coordinate voluntary and community groups, who make a difference through local action such as in cookery clubs, green gyms, sports and walking groups.
All members are required to evaluate their commitments, which will help to build up the evidence of what works to help people to get and maintain a healthy weight.
For a list of members and summaries of their commitments follow the link to the Platform website: www.regionalplatform.org.uk
In September 2009, Councillor David Parsons CBE (Leader of Leicestershire County Council and Chair of East Midlands Councils), Professor David Walker (Regional Director of Public Health) and Robert Madelin (Director General, DG Sanco from the European Commission) signed a declaration recognising the need for all sectors of society to work together to reduce obesity. This was the start of establishing a Platform in the East Midlands (the only region in Europe to develop this model). The intention is to enable a multilevel approach to prevention that can accelerate the pace of change in local health improvement.
The Platform uses a similar approach to the governments recently launched Responsibility Deal, and includes approaches identified in their work on Behaviour Change and The Big Society.
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