The Urban Health Profile: Childhood Obesity in the City of Westminster
Obesity is a complex life-threatening urban health problem that is primarily biological in nature, exacerbated by an obesogenic environment which essentially characterizes cities…
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This will not only help develop healthy children but will also help prevent adult obesity, thus saving lives and billions of money. One area significant for this study is the City of Westminster because it has the highest childhood obesity prevalence in London among Year 6 pupils (28%) in London (London Assembly 2011) and in England among Reception pupils (15%) of state schools (National Health Service-Westminster [NHSW] 2009), especially so that the City substantially contributes to maintaining London’s World Class City status (Local socio-economic/demographic context 2004).
2 The City of Westminster 2.1 Area Westminster is among London’s 33 boroughs, with 20 wards occupying the 2,204 hectares (8.51 square miles) central part of the UK’s capital city. Here reside the Crown, the Government and foreign embassies, the centres of business and education, and some of the country’s historical heritage. Thus it is among the most esteemed business locations and most sought tourist destinations of the world. (Westminster Public Care Trust [WPCT] 2004) 2.2 Population An ethnically and culturally diverse, highly mobile, and growing resident and transient population inhabits Westminster. It is London’s borough with the highest internal (UK) and international migrant turnover rate at 241 per 4,000 in 2008/2009. Westminster’s population surges during the day with its one-million visitors and commuters every day. These make counting Westminster’s population particularly difficult. But its resident population, which accounts to 253,100 populations in 2010 with a 6% projected growth by 2013, made Westminster fifth of London’s largest inner borough. Westminster is London’s most densely populated borough with 84.41 persons per hectare as against London’s 45.62 persons per hectare. (Findlay et al. 2012) Westminster’s population is highly concentrated in its most deprived wards in the north and south (Henschen and Searle 2011). Westminster has a higher working age group population (24-49 years old) at 50.6% as against London’s 43.0%, slightly lower elderly group population (60 and above) at 12.9% as against London’s 13.8%, and much lower children group population (13.1%) as against London’s 19.6% (Findlay et al. 2012). Earlier data (GLA 2004, cited in WPCT 2004, p.5) show Westminster’s children and young people population distributed as follows: 20% are in Queen’s Park & Paddington (Queens Park, Harrow Road, Westbourne, Bayswater, Lancaster Gate, and Hyde Park); 11% in Soho & West End (Bryanstor & Dorset Square, Maryleborne High Street, and West End); 20% in St. Johns Wood & Marylebone (Abbey Road, Maida Vale, Little Venice, Church Street, and Regent’s Park); and 17% in Victoria & Pimlico (Knightsbridge & Belgravia, St. James, Vincent Square, Warwick, Tachbrook, and Churchill). Westminster is ethnically composed of White British (72%), Black Caribbean (2%), Black African (3%), Black Other (2%), Indian (4%), Pakistani (1%), Bangladeshi (2%), Chinese (3%), Other Asian (3%), and Other (8%) that are distributed variedly among its wards (GLA 2010, cited in Henschen and Searle 2011, p.15). Its children and young age group population is ethnically composed of White British (45%), White Other (14%), Asian (14%), Black (9%), Mixed (11%); and Other (6%) (ONS 2007, cited in Henschen and Searle 2011, p.14). 2.3 Socio-economic Status Westminster appears wealthy being the UK’s third most prosperous boroughs in terms of average resident income,
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