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Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions took place between his Department and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the Cadbury initiative with the Youth Sport Trust on assessing the effects chocolate has on obesity; and whether he expects an increase in the amount of confectionery consumed by children following the introduction of the initiative. [111554]

Getting children and young people to be more active through increased participation in physical activity and sport, together with a healthy, balanced diet is key for the prevention of obesity. Increasing levels of physical activity across the whole population is a top priority across government. The Cadbury initiative, Get Active, is not a Government initiative and the Department of Health was not, therefore, consulted.To prevent and manage obesity, consumption of food high in fat and/or added sugar, such as chocolate, should be kept to a minimum, accompanied by increased levels of physical activity. Food consumption by children is assessed by the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS). The NDNS published in 2000 showed that the average consumption of chocolate confectionery in males aged four to 18 years was 138 grams per week and in females aged four to 18 years 115 grams per week. Further assessments will be carried out in future surveys.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Departments working relationship with the International Obesity Taskforce; and what the latest figures are for childhood obesity in (a) Teesside and (b) the UK. [111764]

The Department of Health recognises that the International Obesity Taskforce (IOT) is an important organisation working on issues relating to obesity. Although the department does not have close links with the IOT, it has provided us with information on a range of issues on obesity.In relation to childhood obesity, the Health Survey for England 2001 showed that 8.5 per cent., of six year olds and 15 per cent., of 15-year-olds are obese. Information is not available for Teesside.