22 May, 2015

Jeremy Hunt’s obesity pledge ‘misses the mark’

leisureopportunities.co.uk | Jak Phillips | 22 May 2015 

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s pledge to make addressing the “great scandal” of childhood obesity a top priority of this Parliament has been dismissed as ineffective by the boss of one of Britain’s top fitness companies.

In a speech to health leaders in central London this week, the health secretary said tackling childhood obesity would be one of his main aims, with a national strategy to be put in place as part of the Conservatives’ pledge for an extra £8bn a year in NHS funding by 2020. Currently one in five children leaving primary school is clinically obese, and Hunt is eager to impart a public health strategy that lightens the load on an overburdened NHS England – which still needs to find £22bn in efficiency savings to balance the books. 

Abstract | Hunt’s decision to focus on obesity over physical activity has dismayed many in the sphere of public health, particularly given that a recent University of Cambridge report that found physical inactivity is killing twice as many Europeans as obesity.