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Sports: Obesity

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to tackle obesity through sport. (117904)

[holding answer 5 February 2007]: My Department is promoting sport for people of all ages and backgrounds, both as something enjoyable and worthwhile in itself and, where appropriate, as something that has a vital role to play in tackling obesity.

As part of my Department’s ongoing work to halt the year-on-year rise in obesity for the under-11s by 2010, we have been working closely with our target-holding partners, the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills, on how best to tackle this serious public health problem.

The National School Sport Strategy, jointly implemented by DCMS and DfES, is a key component of a multi-faceted, ‘whole school’ programme of addressing obesity. The 2005/06 school sport survey found that overall 80 per cent. of pupils participate in at least two hours of high quality PE and school sport a week. This exceeded the target of 75 per cent. for 2006 and demonstrates a considerable increase from the estimated 25 per cent. in 2002. This target will rise to 85 per cent. by 2008. By 2010 the ambition is to offer all children at least four hours of sport a week.

Furthermore, we are working with school sports partnerships to increase participation in physical activity by overweight and obese children.

In addition, we have a PSA target to increase by 3 per cent. between 2005 and 2008 the number of adults and young people aged 16 and above from priority groups (in this context defined as those with a physical or mental disability, black or minority ethnic groups, those from socioeconomic groups C2, D and E, and women) who participate in active sports at least 12 times a year and engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity level sport at least three times a week.

Regional Sports Boards in partnership with Community Sports Networks are responsible for delivering the target in each of the Government regions. Sport England is also a key partner in our delivery chain for obesity with successful action dependent on good regional co-ordination and close working with primary care trusts and local authorities to increase participation.

We have now invested over £1 billion in 4,000 new or refurbished sports facilities in order to help deliver this target and we are working to ensure that the 2012 Olympic Games creates a lasting legacy of increased participation in sport and physical activity.