Public Health England release Childhood Obesity strategy

Public Health England - an executive agency of the Department of Health, has today released the Childhood Obesity Strategy. The strategy has been eagerly anticipated since it was announced last year - obesity has more than trebled in the past 30 years and 24.9% of the UK's population is now considered obese. This costs the taxpayer around £6bn per year currently and unless addressed, that figure could rise to as much as double by 2030. 

The strategy's aim is to signifcantly reduce England's rate of childhood obesity within the next 10 years. The problem has been identified as having a number of key strands;

  • 1/3 of two to fifteen year-olds are obese, the illness doubles the risk of dying prematurely
  • obese adults are 7 times more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes than an adult with a healthy weight
  • obesity rates are highest for children in deprived areas
  • more is spent on the treatment of obesity and diabetes than is spent on Police, Fire Service and Judicial System combined

The strategy for addressing this issue also includes a number of key elements;

  • Introduction of soft drinks levy, the revenue from which will be invested into programmes to reduce obesity, encourage physical activity and providing information about balanced diets
  • Doubling Primary school P.E and sport (also investing £10m a year into healthy school 'breakfast clubs')

Taking out 20% of sugar in products by:

  • Reducing product size and realigning ingredients balance
  • Reviews to be performed by Public Health England every 6 months for the next 4 years.

Helping ensure all children are enjoying an hour of physical activity every day

  • Primary school children should all get sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.
  • At least 30 minutes delivered in school, with remaining 30 minutes provided by parents/carers
  • Schools will continue to have freedom to spend Primary P.E & Sport Premium
  • Interactive online tool to be developed which will help schools plan 30 minutes of phys
  • CSP's to work with NGB's, YST and other local/national partners to ensure that by September 2017, every primary school has access to high quality sport and physical activity programmes
  • Introduction of new healthy rating system for primary schools in Sept 2017. Focused on eating well and moving more. This will be taken into account during Ofsted inspections
  • In 2017, Ofsted will undertake a thematic review on obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in schools.

Active Cheshire CEO, Anne Boyd, welcomes the changes - "We're delighted that physical activity is being recognised as a key tool in tackling obesity in young people. Engaging children in their formative years will hopefully embed an active lifestyle alongside healthy choice habits that will stick with them through to adulthood".

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