london obesity

Learning from the London Child Obesity Taskforce

In June 2019, The George Institute for Global Health’s Distinguished Fellow Professor Corinna Hawkes gave a keynote address at our event on creating healthy, sustainable, city food environments, drawing on her work as Vice-Chair of the London Child Obesity Taskforce.

In her presentation, Professor Hawkes stressed that lived experience must be at the heart of urban food policy if it is to enable city inhabitants to access food that is available, acceptable, affordable and appealing.

Since then, the Taskforce has published Every Child a Healthy Weight, setting out 10 ambitions to ensure a healthier London. The report includes a powerful commitment to halve the percentage of the capital’s primary school children who are overweight, and to reduce health inequalities in rates of obesity between the richest and poorest areas by 2030.

As Professor Hawkes presents at the Food Active conference in Manchester on 12 November, calling for ‘healthy weight in all policies’ to tackle the epidemic of obesity in urban areas, we are delighted to launch the new film below.

In this video, Professor Hawkes discusses what other cities can learn from London, and how the pathways to progress evidenced by the Taskforce can be used as blueprints not just for cities, but for nations:


Professor Hawkes highlights that there is a whole system of causes that influence childhood obesity, and that cross-cutting action is required in order to create sustainable change. While the Taskforce focus areas have been developed for London’s context, the following lessons are also relevant elsewhere:

  1. Understand the reality of children’s lives and those of caregivers as a means of identifying which actions are going to work;
  2. Build on existing knowledge, activities and assets (including people!);
  3. Cities can pave the way for nations.

As a Distinguished Fellow, Professor Hawkes is a thought leader on promoting healthy environments. To explore the wider programme of work, please visit our dedicated webpages here and follow us on Twitter.