Brent sees biggest drop in child tooth decay in London

Brent has seen the biggest drop in tooth decay in the capital, according to recent health figures.

The latest Oral Health Survey, which is published by Public Health England, shows there has been a 15.1 per cent decrease in the number of 5 year olds with tooth decay since 2012 – the biggest decrease in the capital.

Camden saw the second highest decrease of 12.8 per cent in the same period, whereas Newham saw the third biggest decrease of 10.7 per cent.

The significant decrease in Brent follows the decision to make children’s oral health a public health priority and the introduction of a series of council preventative programmes, including a school-outreach programme where children’s teeth are varnished with fluoride, encouraging regular dental check-ups of children from toddler age, and by rolling out a ‘Slash Sugar’ campaign warning of the damage sugary foods and drink can do.

Tooth decay is entirely preventable but the reality is that one in four 5 year olds have tooth decay in London. This has a huge knock on impact on a child’s long term future so it is crucial that we tackle the issue. This is why it is so important that we work with all partners and the public to improve child oral health in Brent.

The need for regular brushing, avoiding sugary snacks and drinks and the importance of regular dentist visits for children over the age of one is fundamental to prevention.

Although the large decrease is really promising, we know that there is still much to be done. We will keep working hard to educate children and their parents about preventative measures and healthy lifestyle choices to try and reduce rates of decay even further.

HIV Testing Week

HIV testing week is taking place from 21 November 2015 to 1 December 2015. This national campaign  effort aims to increase the numbers being tested for HIV, particularly amongst those groups most affected (black Africans and men who have sex with men).
Locally Terrence Higgins Trust, Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust, and Evolve Addiction (the integrated service for substance misuse and sexual health for young people) will be working together to:

  • increase testing among key population by raising awareness of HIV;
  • increase the acceptability of HIV testing among key populations;
  • develop and promote care pathways into local testing services.

Terrence Higgins Trust has created a national high profile media campaign ‘It Starts with Me’. In Brent, this will involve a range of outreach activities in local libraries, churches, colleges, youth and community venues in  Harlesden, Willesden, Kilburn and Kingsbury.

Taking a closer look at takeaways near schools to tackle childhood obesity rates

Brent Labour is proposing to radically limit the development of further takeaways near schools in a new bid to control the growing obesity epidemic in the borough.

The proposals, will prohibit any new takeaways within 400 metres of secondary schools or further education establishments, and will place a cap of six per cent on shop frontage for hot food takeaway in any town or neighbourhood centre.

The proposals are part of the council’s Brent Obesity Strategy developed in response to statistics from the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for the borough of Brent showing 11 percent of under 5s and 24 percent of 12 year olds in the borough are obese.

Local residents will get the opportunity to have their say on the proposals in a full consultation process following the election period. If approved, the proposals could be in place next year.

Around one in four of our 12 year olds in Brent is obese, so promoting healthy eating is one of the most important things council and our partners can do.

These proposals will not only limit fast food outlets near schools, but will also place a cap on how many fast food outlets can be permitted in town centres

Controlling the number of fast food outlets directly addresses the link between obesity and availability of junk food. The aim is to encourage our children and other residents to make healthier choices and increase the diversity of retail and food outlets.

Labour is already doing a lot on this issue in Brent, such as offering free swimming to under-16s during school holidays, free tennis for young people, encouraging healthy lifestyles among families with young children. It’s not going to be easy but we are committed to doing everything we can to achieve these goals.

Chief Executive of Public Health England reacts with disappointment to the Governments sudden change of mind on alcohol and tobacco

In a letter addressed to everyone, Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England has vented his disappointment in the Government’s decision last week to take no immediate action on tobacco and alcohol death prevention. The opening extract of his letter reads;

Dear everyone,

We share and understand the disappointment across the public health family that neither standardised packaging nor minimum unit pricing are to be taken forward for the moment by Government. With tobacco and alcohol being among the nation’s top killers this is, however, hopefully a case of not now, rather than never. Both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State have made clear that they are open to further evidence emerging. Lest we forget, nine out of ten smokers begin as children and helping them make better choices is a child protection concern. Likewise, the evidence tells us that doing all we can to reduce the ready availability of cheap, higher strength alcohol helps the youngest and the heaviest drinkers most.

(Extract from Duncan Selbie letter)

The full letter can be found here – LINK.

There comes a cros by which you wonder why the Government felt the need to totally flip their position on these issues and create disappointment to their own professional most senior Public Health Chief Executive.