The Government has allocated ‘£100 million to support children, adults and families to achieve and maintain a healthier weight.’
This new funding is the latest move in the Government's obesity strategy. Last year the Prime Minister proposed a national obesity strategy and this week has expanded on those plans. Sir Keith Mills – inventor of Nectar points and Airmiles – has been appointed to develop a new ‘fit miles’ incentives and rewards system.
£70 million will be made available through the NHS and local authorities for ‘weight management services’. These could range from digital apps to specialist clinical support. £30 million will be used to fund initiatives such as an NHS 12-week weight loss plan app and continuing the Better Health marketing campaign. These are aimed at encouraging people to maintain a healthy weight.
The £30 million will also be spent on expanding behavioural weight management services for children and families, as well as making the data from the National Child Measurement Programme digitally available to health professionals. A further 6,000 children and families are expected to be helped from this money being used to upskill healthcare professionals to support early years and childhood interventions.
With obesity costing the NHS a predicted £6 billion every year, helping people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is clearly a good investment. We would like to see further assurances that tackling obesity is an intrinsic part of all government activity, such as in trade and the advertising industry which appear to be at odds with the national obesity strategy. We need coherent policy across all departments to make progress.