Healthy Futures ‘A Strategic Framework to Prevent the Harm caused by Obesity, Improve Diets and Levels of Physical Activity in NI’ consultation response

In November 2023 the Department of Health launched a consultation to seek views on the development of a new strategy to enhance health and wellbeing in Northern Ireland by focusing on improving diets, increasing participation in physical activity, addressing the obesogenic environment, and preventing the harm cause by overweight and obesity.

Our response

RCPCH responded to the consultation, welcoming the opportunity to do so, given that over one in four children and young people (CYP) in Northern Ireland are living with overweight or obesity. RCPCH recommended that it is essential that a coherent approach is taken to the development of the Framework, with measurable targets and routes for intervention starting in the perinatal phase and continuing throughout the childhood life course and beyond.

Our summary

  • RCPCH stated a strong focus on childhood obesity in the Framework will support the whole system and whole population approach to tackling unhealthy weight and obesity. Not only is this in line with good health economics but ideally it will enable children to live healthy and fulfilling lives now. 
  • The College welcomed the focus on the disparities that exist in terms of inequality. Ensuring equitable access to nutritious food and physical activity to reduce the numbers living with obesity is crucial.
  • RCPCH recommended that the new Framework must be a fundamental tenet of the Programme for Government in Northern Ireland with outcomes and requisite funding allocated to ensure successful delivery and achievement of the intended outcomes.
  • RCPCH welcomed that weight management services are included in the Framework given the proportion of children already living with overweight and obesity. While prevention is key, NI should take steps to support those impacted already. 

Download and read the response in full below.

We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting the Ireland Team on email: