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Early intervention is key to long term health improvement says Lansley

20 January 2011 - 3:40pm

Obesity is going to be one of the main public health issues topping the government’s agenda, health secretary Andrew Lansley has signalled.

Describing obesity-related conditions as a ‘rising tsunami’, he set out his vision for long term improvements in public health, on the same day as the Health and Social Care Bill was published. Mr Lansley addressed a conference of public health directors and other health professionals in London to explain the public health challenge. ‘I want to see a horizon shift,’ he said. ‘We are looking for a new clarity of purpose in tackling public health. There is no quick fix, and much of our work will only see benefits over the long term. We need to directly address health inequalities. ‘We will have to make multiple, cumulative interventions and we may get good results in 10 years. Intervening early is obviously the key,’ Mr Lansley said. 

 Lifestyle choices

‘We know lifestyle choices are fundamental to tackling obesity, Mr Lansley said. ‘We have to build up the evidence about public health interventions that work, and translate these into action at local level.’ He encouraged public health teams to engage with people in new ways, drawing communities together, using the best technologies and interventions.

Health and Social Care Bill

Lead responsibility for public health will transfer from primary care trusts to local authorities under proposals in the Health and Social Care Bill. The health secretary will have the final say over the appointment of directors of public health. A new body – Public Health England – will be created, and will publish data against the proposed public health outcomes framework which sets the measures for public health work in future.


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