The Public Health White Paper, Healthy Lives Healthy People, is a response to the challenge needed to improve the prevalence of overweight and obesity across the population.
The White Paper recognises the challenge ahead in reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Enabling individuals to change their behaviour could reduce premature death, illness and costs to society, avoiding a substantial proportion of cancers, vascular dementias and over 30% of circulatory diseases.
· A sustained downward trend in the level of excess weight in children by 2020
· A downward trend in the level of excess weight averaged across all adults by 2020.
In addition to these new national ambitions the key areas covered in the call to action include:
· The importance of action focusing on both children and adults, and on both prevention and treatment;
· How a wide range of partners can work together to ensure that people get the right support and information to help them reach and maintain a healthier weight;
· How under the new public health system Local Authorities will have a new enhanced role, supported by a ring-fenced budget, and will bring together local partners to provide effective responses for addressing this major issue;
· The Government’s commitment to support local areas by making sure they have access to the best possible data and evidence;
· A continuing key role for the centre to complement this, for example by leading the Responsibility Deal and national campaigns such as Change4Life; and
· A challenge to the food and drink industry to play a key role – alongside Government, NGOs and others – in reducing the population’s calorie intake by 5 billion calories a day
The health and economic consequences of obesity and the consequent burden on the health and care system mean that action now is paramount. In addition the approach outlined in many ways anticipates the new public health system, so is a good test bed for emerging arrangements