Obesity in Ealing is higher than the London and England average and, between 2014 and 2015, the percentage of overweight children in Year 6 increased from 37 per cent to 39 per cent. However, one school in Ealing has seen a significant reversal in the obesity trend, and this school is Stanhope Primary.

Between 2013 and 2015, Stanhope’s Reception and Year 6 pupils had the highest rates of overweight and obesity compared to any other school in Ealing. However, the most recent National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) data released in August 2016 showed a very different picture.

The 2015–16 NCMP data revealed that 41% of Stanhope’s Year 6 pupils were overweight or obese. In 2009–10, when the same children were weighed and measured in Reception, 53% were overweight or obese. This reveals that there has been a 12 percentage points reduction in overweight and obesity among these pupils during their six years at Stanhope Primary School.

How did Stanhope reduce obesity?

In 2014–15, the school introduced a Health Champions programme, a water-only packed lunch policy, token rewards for fruit and vegetable consumption, an annual Health Fair with healthy eating and exercise stalls, healthy eating assemblies, school travel initiatives and a new whole-school Food Policy. They also delivered lifestyle programmes for families including MEND and HENRY.

More recently in 2015–16, Stanhope introduced the Daily Mile programme and three minutes of daily HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training, such as star jumps and lunges), and worked with a catering company to redesign their dessert menu.

This coming academic year, the school will introduce a not-for-profit pupil-run breakfast club and afterschool healthy snack shop. They will also pilot a train-the-trainer parent cooking programme and work with Ealing Council to improve access to healthy food options on the nearby high street.

In January, Stanhope opened a fully equipped fitted kitchen so that pupils can learn how to cook and prepare healthy food. A local kitchen retailer donated the kitchen.

It is envisaged that Stanhope will continue to see improvements in their pupils’ health and wellbeing as they further embed their whole-school approach to tackling childhood obesity.

Top tips from Stanhope Primary School

  • Introduce a water-only packed lunch policy with token rewards for fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Introduce the Daily Mile
  • Introduce more sports clubs, including non-traditional sports, before, during and after school

Encouraging children to eat healthily and be physically active from an early age can help them develop healthy habits that could help reduce their risk of developing cancer later in life. Visit the Great Grub Club, a website for children, parents and teachers, which makes healthy eating and physical activity fun.