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Obesity: Children

Volume 458: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps her Department is taking to tackle childhood obesity. (126730)

We are committed to tackling obesity, working in partnership nationally and locally. We have set ourselves a public service agreement target to halt the year-on-year rise in obesity among children aged under 11 by 2010 in the context of a broader strategy to tackle obesity in the population as a whole.

We have improved the co-ordinated delivery of initiatives that contribute to tackling childhood obesity, including working with Ofcom who have recently announced limits on broadcast advertising and promotion of high fat, salt, sugar foods to children, healthy schools, and the national school sport strategy, influencing the curriculum and standards for early years settings. We have also published care pathways for national health service primary care professionals and a self-help guide for patients to help with weight loss.

Our investments have already delivered improvements, for example, free fruit to nearly 2 million four to six-year-olds at English schools; a reformed scheme for families on benefits that will give them access to free vitamins and a choice of fruit, vegetables or milk; 80 per cent. of schoolchildren now doing at least two hours of school sport a week, beating our own target of 75 per cent. for this year; and three quarters of schools are on the healthy schools programme.