The Government has announced plans led by the Prime Minister to reward people for cutting their calorie intake.
Over £70 million will be invested into weight management services – made available through the NHS and councils – enabling up to 700,000 adults to have access to support that can help them to lose weight, from access to digital apps, weight management groups or individual coaches, to specialist clinical support.
The remaining £30 million will fund initiatives to help people maintain a healthy weight, including access to the free NHS 12 week weight loss plan app and continuing the successful Better Health marketing campaign to motivate people to make healthier choices.
Part of the funding from the 30m pot will also go towards upskilling healthcare professionals to support those in early years and childhood with intervention and enhanced training packages, helping up to 6,000 children and families to lead healthy lives.
Sir Keith Mills, who has pioneered reward programmes through Airmiles and Nectar points, has been appointed to advise on developing a new “fit miles” approach that will use incentives and rewards to support people to eat better and move more.
Sir Keith will support the Government to develop innovative approaches with public and private partners that use incentives to help people make healthier choices.
This will draw on best practice from around the world, such as the national step challenge in Singapore, a nation-wide physical activity programme aimed at encouraging Singaporeans to do more physical activity as part of their daily lives with financial incentives.
The plans announced today will prioritise helping those who need the most support to achieve a healthier lifestyle, including people living in some of the most deprived areas of the country.
Living with excess weight puts people at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, with risk growing substantially as body mass index (BMI) increases.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the impact that living with obesity can have on people’s health and it is more important than ever to make it easier for people to move towards a healthier weight.
Evidence suggests weight management services can help people to adopt healthier behaviours, lose weight and improve their general wellbeing. This funding will support GPs and other health professionals to help make weight management an integral part of routine care. It will encourage clinicians to have conversations about weight with their patients and enable them to refer patients to new services.
Obesity is one of the biggest health crises the country faces. Almost two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity – and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese, with obesity-related illnesses costing the NHS £6 billion a year.