You can read my lastest monthly column for the Witney Gazette, here:
With Parliament now in recess, I am pleased to be back in West Oxfordshire, meeting many of you, travelling around the whole constituency, and spending a little more time with my family. My one year old son is just beginning to walk and I cannot help thinking, as all parents do, about what I can do to ensure that he lives a happy and healthy life.
Unfortunately, childhood obesity is becoming endemic in our country, posing a major public health concern for the future, and for our health services. I recently met with both Cancer Research UK and the Obesity Health Alliance in Parliament, raising awareness of the clear link between obesity and cancer, and learning about what can be done to help.
Medical research has made huge strides towards beating cancer, helping doctors to recognise the early warning signs and diagnose the right treatment as soon as possible. Thanks to the excellent work of charities and the Government, everyone is aware of the link between smoking and cancer. However, the link with obesity does not have the same recognition, despite being the second biggest cause of cancer in the UK. It is a sobering fact that an obese child is around five times more likely to remain obese as an adult, with one in three children leaving primary school overweight or obese.
All parents want to protect the health of their child; the good news is that taking positive steps is neither hard, nor expensive - and is fun. By taking a little care of what we eat, what we feed our children, and trying to be a little more active, we can make a huge difference. Luckily, in beautiful West Oxfordshire, packed with interesting places to go, this is made very easy. So we can use these long summer days to get out and be active, perhaps visiting the Leys in Witney, enjoying the refurbished playground, making use of our local sports centres, swimming pools or one of over 80 public play areas in West Oxfordshire. Walking through our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or through the grounds of Blenheim Palace is no chore - and makes a real difference!
Tackling children's obesity requires a comprehensive approach to improve diets and increase physical activity. Every child deserves the best start in life; without getting to grips with obesity levels, we are risking their current and future health, whilst creating a time bomb for our NHS.
I will continue to work in Parliament to promote ways to tackle obesity, starting with changing attitudes to our diet and lifestyle. Initiatives such as the Sugar Smart app are already helping families understand the hidden sugar in everyday food, whilst new technology can show us how a little physical activity makes a big difference.
So, I will be getting out as much as I can with my family - and I hope to see as many of you as possible enjoying West Oxfordshire's outdoor attractions over the summer!
For those wanting to get in touch, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone my office at 01993 225020 or you are welcome to write to me at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
Published on 02.08.17 in the Witney Gazette.