In response to the Government’s childhood obesity strategy published yesterday, the national obesity charity HOOP UK says it not only worryingly falls short of all expectations, it fails to deliver a cohesive plan to help one third of children who are already struggling with obesity.
A director and founder of HOOP, Lesley McCormack states on behalf of the UK wide charity:
“Whilst we welcome any and all steps to tackle the obesity crisis and improve our nation’s health, HOOP is greatly disappointed to read this poorly presented strategy.
“It should have included far wider anti-obesity measures as well as deliver on long over-due promises for investment in obesity support and treatment for children whose parents are understandably feeling let down by our Government today.
“The plan is essentially flawed and narrow as it focuses on food and activity yet ignores the mental health, social and economic reasons why children are overweight.
“To start, boosting funds for school sports from the sugar tax due to come into force from 2018 will not benefit children who need it now and need it most. Evidence shows the beneficiaries of school and coached sports is “sporty” rather than obese kids. It would seem more prudent to spend where it’s most needed by investing in specialist coaches and treatments that are able to support and treat alienated and hard to engage overweight children.
“Furthermore, leaving primary schools and parents to each deliver at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day is far too challenging. With schools already under huge curriculum and Ofsted pressure and over-stretched and under-funded specialist support to help parents, this approach is surely fated to fail.
“When you consider that the estimated annual cost of obesity is £27bn to the economy in both costs and lost revenue, higher than any other public health issue, obesity should be a Government priority. It costs the NHS £6.1bn per year and they invest around £36m. By comparison, investment in Type 2 diabetes is £2.2bn per annum to address NHS costs of £7.7bn. The disparity in investment is stark! It is time Government takes real and proper action to bridge this alarming cost vs investment gap or our NHS will be bankrupt and a third of our children die young.”
Established in 2012, HOOP UK acts as the voice of the obese person and raises funds to help children and adults who struggle daily with obesity. It also aims to break down the stigma surrounding obesity, which adds daily to the plight of those who are overweight or obese.