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Tools For Obesity To Improve Health

Armen Hareyan's picture

An obesity toolkit crammed with practical tips and information is being launched to help people fight the flab and improve their health.

With almost a quarter of the adult population now classified as obese and with the proportion of obese children rising by more than 40 per cent between 1995 and 2004, an obesity toolkit is being published to help local councils and health bodies support people in their area to beat the bulge.

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said; "Most people know they should eat more fruit and vegetables, and do more exercise but sometimes they need a nudge in the right direction to get them on the road to improving their health.

"That's where the obesity toolkit can help - providing a raft of information and tools such as useful statistics, practical initiatives and examples of good practice. It has been set up to provide local planners with a starting point for developing a local strategy to tackle overweight and obesity tailor made for their areas."

The launch of the online toolkit comes as thousands of young people are using the new Teen Life Check - a quick online quiz style questionnaire primarily for young people aged 11 - 14, but primarily aimed at 12 and 13 year olds.

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As of March 27, 6881 people have accessed the Teen Life Check site and 3015 have now taken the 'quiz' since it went live on February 6.

The online questionnaires give young people the opportunity to take greater responsibility for their health and well being as the questionnaires help them understand how their lifestyles may affect their health and direct them to information and resources to help them improve their health.

Caroline Flint continued; "Obesity has a major impact on people's health and can lead to Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer. And for this reason, reducing obesity is a government priority.

"We want to help and support people to make changes to their lifestyles that will improve their health and the health of their children. This isn't about telling people what to do. The obesity toolkit provides professionals in local government and the NHS with the tools they need to tackle this problem.

"This approach is valuable as we already know that the Teen Life Check is being widely used by young people - within several weeks of the website going live, nearly 7,000 people have accessed the site.

"The Teen Life Check empowers young people by allowing them to personally assess the impact their lifestyles may be having on their health. The tool provides young people with info and resources to help them make positive health changes. In many cases, the life check will be the first chance the young person has had to think holistically about their behaviour and how it affects their health."

Jane Landon, deputy chief executive of the National Heart Forum said; "The obesity toolkit will provide primary care trusts and local authorities with an invaluable online resource which will help them develop a strategy for tackling overweight and obesity in their local area, taking into account the specific needs of the population, and based on the best available evidence of effectiveness."