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Obesity: North East Region

Volume 471: debated on Tuesday 29 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies his Department commissioned on child obesity in the North East and its implications for the future health of people in the region in each of the last five years. (181548)

The prevalence of childhood obesity is measured in the North East through the National Child Measurement Programme. This is a national programme through which the height and weight of children in reception (four and five-year-olds) and year six (ten and eleven-year-olds) throughout the country are measured. These data are used to inform local planning and commissioning of services for children as well as providing population-level surveillance data to allow analysis of trends in growth patterns and obesity.

Assessment of the potential health impact will be made through a range of national studies. In particular, the Department has established the National Child Measurement Programme (which will report North East figures in 2008) as well as the Health Survey for England to measure obesity levels throughout England.

The North East strategic health authority reports that there are a number of actions being taken forward locally to help reduce overweight and obesity in the North East. These include projects encouraging healthier eating, promoting exercise and weight management and offering support through a range of facilities, such as the Healthworks healthy living resource centre in Easington, which brings together a range of services under one roof. The aim of these are to ensure that important messages about diet, physical activity and behavioural changes are consistent, high quality and that interventions are based in primary care settings across the North East.