Food for Thought: Promoting Healthy Diets Among Children and Young People

British Medical Association, July 2015

This report sets out the measures needed to help promote healthier diets among children and young people. It makes recommendations for the improvement of promotion of healthy behaviours including: improving knowledge and attitudes towards healthy eating; the limitation of unhealthy cues and promotion of unhealthy food and drink; and international co-operation on nutrition.

Click here to download the full report.

Click here to download the summary.

Obesity Statistics

House of Commons Library, June 2015

This briefing gives statistics on obesity for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with international comparisons. Breakdowns by age, gender, local authority and deprivation are given where possible, and data for both adult and child obesity is covered. In addition to statistics on the prevalence of obesity, this briefing gives statistics on prescriptions of drugs for obesity, trends in bariatric surgery, and the detrimental effect of obesity on health.

Click here for further information and to download the report.

Doctors are urged to encourage patients to be more active to reduce chronic ill health

BMJ, 20 February 2015

Doctors in the United Kingdom have been urged to encourage patients to take small amounts of regular exercise and told that they have a leading role to play in reversing the growing contribution of sedentary lifestyles to chronic ill health…

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Making the case for tackling obesity – why invest?

Public Health England, February 2015

This slideset of infographics illustrating the facts and figures about obesity, the costs, the benefits of investing and the potential routes to action. An accompanying reference sheet is included.

Click here to view the slideset.

Click here to view the reference sheet.

How effective are interventions at reducing socioeconomic inequalities in obesity among children and adults? Two systematic reviews

National Institute for Health Research, January 2015

The objective of this study was to systematically review the effectiveness of interventions (individual, community and societal) in reducing socioeconomic inequalities in obesity among (1) children aged 0–18 years (including prenatal) and (2) adults aged ≥18 years, in any setting, in any country, and (3) to establish how such interventions are organised, implemented and delivered through a systematic review of the literature.

Of 56,967 papers of inequalities in obesity in children, 76 studies (85 papers) were included, and of 70,730 papers of inequalities in obesity in adults, 103 studies (103 papers) were included. These studies suggested that interventions that aim to prevent, reduce or manage obesity do not increase inequalities. For children, there was most evidence of effectiveness for targeted school-delivered, environmental and empowerment interventions. For adults, there was most evidence of effectiveness for primary care-delivered tailored weight loss and community-based weight loss interventions, at least in the short term among low-income women. There were few studies of appropriate design that could be included on societal-level interventions, a clear limitation of the evidence base found.

The reviews have found some evidence of interventions with the potential to reduce SES inequalities in obesity and that obesity management interventions do not increase health inequalities. More experimental studies of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions (particularly at the societal level) to reduce inequalities in obesity, particularly among adolescents and adult men in the UK, are needed.

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Tackling the causes and effects of obesity

Local Government Association, January 2015

This report argues that health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the country £5 billion per year, with numbers of people with obesity predicted to more than double in the next 40 years. It warns that councils do not have enough money in their public health budgets to properly tackle obesity once mandatory services such as sexual health and drug and alcohol services have been paid for. The report calls for a fifth of existing VAT raised on sweets, crisps, takeaway food and sugary drinks to go to boost council-run grassroots initiatives with a proven track record, such as leisure activities and health awareness campaigns.

Click here to view the full report.