Junk foodThe newly launched Public Health England (PHE) agency says the creation of personalised weight loss programmes for children and a ban on advertising for unhealthy snacks and sweets is needed to combat the country's obesity epidemic.

Public Health England (PHE) also suggested that councils should be given the power to formulate health programmes to 'deal with this problem head on'.

The health watchdog, which started operations yesterday [2 Apr], has a wide-ranging remit to 'protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing'.

Individual obesity intervention plans
Professor Kevin Fenton, the agency's Director of Health Improvement and Population Healthcare, said that authorities should use 'local individual plans' as part of a 'range of effective tools' to combat obesity.

"Innovation can be put in place at the local level when local councils understand the nature of the epidemic and take steps to help to intervene," Prof Fenton said. "

"We need to be more mindful about what we are offering to our kids and ensuring we are looking at portion control and healthier options in schools, pubs or community - all of us have a role to play. Are we ensuring that we don't have access to unhealthy TV adverts at a time when kids are watching television. Should we be thinking about how those advertisements are being placed?

"In other countries they have delinked advertisements which promote toys and food, adverts that promote kids coming into restaurant establishments, that is one of the options that is being looked at."

Tenth of primary chilren obese
Recent figures show that a tenth of British children are obese when they start school, while twice many are obese when starting senior school.

Overall, a third of children are overweight or obese by the time they are in their final year at primary school.

In 2011/12, 9.5 per cent of children in reception class aged four and five were classed as obese, rising to one in five pupils in year six aged ten and 11.

Cancer timebomb
The warning comes shortly after doctors claimed that parents are creating a 'cancer timebomb' by letting their children spend too long sitting down.

The group of medical experts also claimed that children are being put at risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes because of their sedentary lifestyles.

Posted 03/04/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com