MP Diane Abbott calls for Commons debate on child obese crisis after visit to East End

Shadow public health minister Diane Abbott is to seek an emergency Commons debate to tackle child obesity after visiting London’s deprived East End to see how schools are coping with overweight kids.

She wants a ‘healthy living’ programme for pupils and their parents being run in East London to be rolled out across the country and given funding priority by the Government.

“We have to draw attention to the crisis we have in our schools,” she told the East London Advertiser.

“I want to see a national programme to involve families as well—it’s parents who do the shopping who need to be educated about healthy lifestyles for their kids.”

She plans to seek a debate when Parliament resumes after the summer recess.

Britain is one of the worst countries in Europe for child obesity, the Hackney North & Stoke Newington MP was told.

She met pupils and parents at Manorfield Primary in Poplar yesterday who have been attending a 10-week after-school programme on healthy living, run by the social enterprise organisation MEND—‘Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!’

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Ms Abbott sat in on a session on how overweight children cope with playground bullying.

“The information on handling bullying will be useful at Westminster,” the MP quipped.

The programme is run in partnership with NHS East London, targeted at youngsters aged seven to 11 in Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney and Newham who are overweight for their height and age.

Tower Hamlets is one of the worst reported areas in the country for child obesity, with one-in-four aged 10 and 11 being overweight.