Government support package to help those living with obesity to lose weight
The Government are supporting children, adults and families by providing £100 million to be better supported to achieve and maintain a healthier weight.
- Sir Keith Mills has been appointed to advise on new incentives and reward approach to encourage healthy behaviours
- Measures part of landmark obesity strategy published by the Prime Minister last July
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Over £70 million will be invested into weight management services made available through the NHS and councils. This will enable up to 700,000 adults to have access to support that can help them to lose weight, from access to digital apps, weight management groups or individual coaches, to specialist clinical support.
The remaining £30 million will fund initiatives to help people maintain a healthy weight, including access to the free NHS 12-week weight loss plan app and continuing the successful Better Health marketing campaign to motivate people to make healthier choices.
The funding will also go towards teaching additional skills to healthcare professionals to support those in early years and childhood with intervention and enhanced training packages.
The innovative approaches will be developing on a new ‘fit miles’ which uses incentives and rewards to support people to eat better and move more as well as developing [practice from around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the impact that living with obesity can have on people’s health and it is more important than ever to make it easier for people to move towards a healthier weight.
Professor Graham MacGregor, Chair of Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, Queen Mary University of London says:
“Although there is an element of personal responsibility in both the treatment and prevention of obesity, this can only be achieved with equitable access to healthy, affordable food and this should be the responsibility of the food industry who need to take full control with strict measures which include reformulation, well enforced marketing and promotions restrictions and better food-labelling requirements.
"Whilst there are some effective weight management support services which are mainly accessed through the NHS, many are often limited, underfunded and have extensive waiting lists. The Government must now commit to a comprehensive obesity plan which not prevents obesity but also treats those who are overweight. We simply cannot rely on weight loss services and financial rewards in the fight against obesity.
With figures published last year suggesting that nearly two-thirds of adults in England are either overweight or living with obesity (and obesity linked to the worst outcomes of Covid-19), it's crucial that the food & drink industry, including the hospitality sector, does not dither or delay any longer."
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
"Helping people to achieve or maintain a healthier weight is complex and can be a very hard task. We want to make it easier for people to lose weight, which is why our funding set out today ensures those across all ages have the right level of support and tools they need to make healthier lifestyle choices.
These measures will allow us to work with local authorities and optimise different areas of our healthcare services to encourage healthy behaviours for all. The urgency of tackling obesity has been brought to the fore by evidence of the link to an increased risk from COVID-19, so it’s vital we take action on obesity to protect the NHS and improve our nation’s health."
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England said:
"Living with obesity can have a devastating impact on people’s health and wellbeing in so many ways, not least its link this year to the increased risk from COVID.
This investment will greatly boost services for adults struggling with their weight and raising the profile of our Better Health campaign will help to support more people to make healthier choices."
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity, said:
"Obesity is associated with higher risks of type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, many of the common cancers and is now linked with more severe COVID-19 outcomes, so there does indeed need to be wider action to support people to lose weight.