Healthy lifestyle, adults

Adult obesity rates are on the rise in the UK and locally, and it is estimated that 20-30 per cent of the adult population in Tower Hamlets is clinically obese. This is due to a lack of physical activity, limited access to green spaces, poverty and the widespread availability of cheap, unhealthy food.

A poor diet and low levels of physical activity also increase health risks such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and common cancers including breast and colon cancer, osteoarthritis and increase the risk to both mother and baby in pregnancy. There is also a relationship between poor mental health and obesity. Reducing obesity is a key public health priority in Tower Hamlets.

Work we are doing locally to tackle this issue

We encourage local food businesses to reduce levels of fat, sugar and salt and increase the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables through the Food4Health scheme. We also provide free, healthy cooking clubs for parents and children across the borough.

Providing opportunities to be active
Walking, cycling, swimming, specialist physical activity and weight management schemes are available across the borough, which you can read about below.


The Young @ Heart programme offers activities to increase participation in sports, physical activity and improve health for those aged over 50 at leisure centres across the borough. View a programme of activities on the Young @ Heart page or email

Women-only swim sessions give women and girls the choice of 12 free, single-sex swimming sessions which take place every week. £1 for leisure centre members.

Residents can swim at no charge on Free Swim Friday from 9am until the pool closes (during public swimming times).

To find out more about the leisure facilities and fitness programmes available in Tower Hamlets contact the sports and physical activity team on 020 7364 3214 or visit

Healthy Families is a 5- to 6-week course on healthy eating and active lifestyles for parents of children aged under 11. Call the Tower Hamlets council parental engagement team on 020 7364 1952.

You can also get support and find out about healthy lifestyle activities from the
Tower Hamlets Health Outreach Workers

Tel: 020 7364 7330
In person at: The Idea Store Whitechapel

There is more information in this section about sources of support for people to make healthy changes.


The Food for Health Awards reward businesses for improving access to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables and supports restaurants and cafés that make their food healthier by decreasing the amount of salt, fat and sugar in their dishes. For more information on the scheme visit the Food for Health Award page or contact Isabella Daniel,, 020 7364 6738.

Free cycle training: provided by Tower Hamlets Council for adults and families who live or work in the borough. Visit the cycle training, call 020 7364 6940 or

Fit for Life is a programme that provides 12 week specialist weight management support followed by monthly drop in sessions to residents of Tower Hamlets aged 18 or over who wish to achieve a healthier lifestyle and weight. The Fit for Life programme also offers specialist weight management support to people with disability or mental illness.

Speak to your GP for a referral. More information can be found on the BBBC website.

Maternal Weight Management Support offer programmes to help antenatal or postnatal women maintain a healthy weight. Contact Children’s and Maternity Weight Management Service on 020 8223 8485 or email

Useful external links