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Calls for a “Department of Obesity” to tackle the epidemic

22 June 2015

Calls for a “Department of Obesity” to tackle the epidemic

image credit: HOOP UK

The UK charity, HOOP UK (Helping Overcome Obesity Problems), is calling on the Government to establish a Department of Obesity to tackle the “epidemic” facing the UK population today.

Their calls follow the release of shocking new figures that has found savage cuts in public spending on obesity prevention throughout the whole of 2014 – despite politicians’ headlines and hand wringing on the topic.

Using Freedom of Information requests on local authorities across the country, HOOP discovered that:

  • On average, 2.26% of the public health allocation was spent on weight management services – a reduction of 10% compared to 2013
  • Approximately 1 in 3 local authorities are not providing any support for overweight or obese children, young people or adults.
  • These allocations are extremely low when compared to: substance misuse (26%), sexual health (22%) and smoking (5%)
  • This is further emphasised with the direct and indirect costs to public health that obesity has costing more, directly, than drugs misuse, alcohol misuse and sexual health combined.

Jill Tipping, HOOP CEO, said: “We are disappointed and actually shocked at the figures we have collated as to how little is being put into the treatment of obesity in this country. The indirect cost of obesity is so far-reaching that the core issues and a bigger understand of this complex health issue needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

“HOOP is calling on the Government to create a Department of Obesity to address the ever increasing health issues for both children and adults. It cites the example of the UK Government having a Department of Sport when approximately 35% of the population play sport once a week, and yet with 1 in 3 children and 2 in 3 adults suffer daily due to their weight but there is no national policy or ministerial post assigned to this issue. HOOP believes this needs to change.

“Local Authorities have statutory targets to meet when dealing with drugs, alcohol misuse and sexual health issues, but they have no such incentives when it comes to tackling obesity. That makes it the poor relation when it comes to funding as LA’s have no Government targets to meet to ensure this issue is being tackled effectively. More than a third of the Local Authorities we contacted had no provision at all – and frankly that is disgraceful.”

The full report by HOOP is available to download via their website at www.hoopuk.org.uk 

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