PENDLE Council has signed a declaration to promote healthy weight across the borough through improved food and drink provision.

Council bosses say childhood obesity is a growing concern in Pendle with 22.2 per cent of children aged 10 to 11 classified as obese - the second highest figure in Pennine Lancashire.

And as Pendle is one of the 20 per cent most deprived areas in England, it is significantly associated with overweight and obesity.

By signing the declaration, Pendle Council’s chief executive, Dean Langton and leader, Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, have demonstrated the council’s commitment to tackling this issue and improving the health and wellbeing of local people and staff.

The Local Government Declaration on Healthy Weight includes a number of pledges the council will meet to help people make better choices.

These include working with the local food and drink sector to encourage them to offer healthier food and drink options, as well as increasing access to fresh drinking water in council buildings.

As part of the pledge, the council will also work towards removing marketing by the food and drink industry near schools and ensuring food and drinks served at public events include healthy options.

The council will also develop a package of incentives to encourage food businesses in Pendle to take up the Pennine Lancashire Recipes for Health scheme.

Cllr Iqbal said: “It’s so important that we make it easier for people, young and old, to make the right choices when it comes to choosing food and drink.

“We want to make the healthy option the easy option which very often isn’t the case.

“By signing this declaration we’re making a commitment to doing all we can, including developing and implementing policies, which promote healthy weight.

“It builds on work already under way in Pendle to encourage people to ditch junk food and move more.”

Mr Langton added: “Pendle is part of a Trailblazer area to tackle childhood obesity and we’re also involved in a Sport England pilot which aims to increase physical activity.

“These two national programmes dovetail well, bringing healthy weight to the fore.”