Policy Forum for Wales

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Improving child and young people’s health in Wales - Government strategy, tackling obesity, sports provision, physical activity and the role of schools

May 2023

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

This conference brought together stakeholders and policymakers to assess priorities for children’s and young people’s health in Wales - looking at key issues for policy, public health and the education system.

Areas for discussion included next steps for tackling obesity, and the future of physical activity and sport provision.

It came as the Welsh Government highlights how the effects of the pandemic have worsened existing issues, alongside the implementation of:

  • the Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales 2022 to 2024 delivery plan, which was revised following the pandemic
  • the 2023 Healthy Food Environment consultation, an action from the Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy
  • the Primary Care Obesity Prevention Plan (PCOP)
  • the Health and Wellbeing Area of Learning Experience in Welsh schools, part of the new Curriculum for Wales

Delegates looked at progress and next steps in the implementation of key aspects of the Healthy Weight delivery plan, including:

  • effective early intervention to support families and children from an early age
  • developing a joined-up approach to healthy weight management in children
  • reducing health inequalities across families and young people

Attendees discussed health and physical activity within education settings, the implementation of whole-school approaches to health and wellbeing, and the wider impact of the new the Health and Wellbeing Area of Learning and Experience, which forms part of the new Curriculum for Wales.

Further sessions considered priorities for improving access to opportunities for physical activity outside education and what is currently preventing young people from accessing them, following the AHK Wales Report Card grading Wales an F for the overall levels of physical activity amongst children.

Overall, the agenda brought out discussion on:

  • policy priorities for achieving an active Wales:
    • taking the Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales Strategy 2022 to 2024 delivery plan forward
    • strategies for improving child engagement in daily physical exercise - tackling high levels of obesity
    • putting effective early intervention measures in place - supporting families and children in early years - tackling barriers to changing behaviour amongst families
  • healthy weight management:
    • priorities for GPs in delivering in the PCOP - progress so far
    • addressing health inequalities - targeting areas most in need
    • industry initiatives for promoting a healthy diet - supporting access to healthy foods
    • fostering joined-up approaches to person-centred weight management
  • health and physical activity in schools:
    • key challenges and opportunities for implementation of the Health and Wellbeing Area of Learning Experience within the new curriculum
  • strengthening input into nutrition in early years
    • establishing whole-school approaches to physical activity - developing facilities - increasing support for teachers 
  • physical activity outside of education:
    • widening participation and inclusion - improving community engagement - addressing inequalities in access to grassroots sport and coaching
    • utilising government funding - impact of targeted physical activity programmes from Sport Wales
    • options for restoring engagement in sport to pre-pandemic levels
    • rebuilding indoor sport networks and community leisure facilities

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the DHSC; Senedd Cymru; and the Welsh Government.

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles