Services to combat childhood obesity launched

New children’s wellbeing services are to launch to help combat rising obesity rates in young people, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.

The new services will be available face-to-face and virtually, and are planned to be led by the newly installed Office of Health Promotion (OHP).  

The initiative includes the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme, supported by £12m worth of government funding, to provide free online support through primary care teams.

Public Health Minister Jo Churchill commented: “We want to make the healthier option the easy option, but we still know losing weight can be difficult for people. Making sure the right support is available means that we can help individuals make the most of the positive impact that reaching a healthier weight can have both physically and mentally. The benefit is theirs.” 

 “It’s really important we help people access services that are convenient for them and tailored to their needs. By expanding virtual and face-to-face weight management support across the country, we’re bringing improved health and wellbeing closer to home.” 

98 percent of local councils have signed up to offer the services and support the initiative. Primary care teams will promote the services and encourage people to sign-up. In most cases, services will involve 12-week sessions, offering dietary advice and physical exercise to encourage healthier habits.  

The OHP will be fully launched later this year, with one of the central aims for the organisation to promote healthier living and combat obesity and half the number of children living with obesity in the United Kingdom by 2030. 

Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, added: “Councils across the country are playing an important role in our collective efforts with government to helping people of all ages achieve a healthier weight. These targeted programmes, which are free to access for people who are living with overweight or obesity, can bring about significant health benefits such as reducing pressure on joints, lowering the risk of cancer, preventing type two diabetes, cutting cholesterol and easing high blood pressure.” 

“The new weight management services announced today is a positive step and a reflection of our shared commitment with a national government to tackling obesity and helping our communities live healthier and more active lives.”