CSP welcomes new strategy to tackle obesity and promote better health

People need to change their diet and lifestyle choices in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to reduce obesity levels in the UK.

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This is the message in a new government policy paper, Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, launched today by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The CSP has welcomed the new strategy, which sets out a series of measures that are designed to reduce obesity levels and enable adults and children to live healthier lives.

These include the launch of Better Health, a new campaign from Public Health England, which provides evidence-based advice, tools and apps to help people adopt healthier eating habits, be more active and start losing weight.

In addition, the government plans to introduce new legislation that will

  • End ‘buy one get one free’ promotional offers for foods that are foods high in fat, sugar or salt
  • Ban adverts that promote foods high in fat, sugar or salt from being shown on TV or online before 9pm
  • Prevent the placement of such foods in prominent locations, which encourage people to purchase them, both online and in physical stores

An effective approach includes physical activity

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CSP chief executive Karen Middleton said: ‘We have long advocated physical activity as the most important factor in improving overall health, and we are pleased the government has included this in its strategy to tackle obesity.

We know maintaining a healthy weight can be a real challenge but being overweight increases the likelihood of many serious diseases and leads to health inequalities. And now there is also evidence linking higher BMI to a greater risk from Covid-19.

‘While the focus is on targeting food and drink, the wider causes behind obesity also need to be taken into account. And reducing physical inactivity should be at the heart of any measures aimed at building a healthier population.’

Physiotherapists have a vital role

Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that the management of obesity should include a variety of interventions to modify diet and physical activity behaviours.

It also advises that physical activity is important for maintaining long-term weight loss and managing co-morbidities, and it suggests that effective weight management interventions require the input of a multidisciplinary team of professionals.

Physiotherapists are able to provide the physical activity component of multidisciplinary weight management services and have a vital role to play in the prevention and management of obesity.

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