Child obesity fight threatened by budget cuts

Attempts to fight the growing obesity problem could be hampered by government cuts to public health funding, local councils have warned.
Figures from the Local Government Association (LGA) show that £505 million pounds will have been spent on fighting obesity by the end of next year, since 2013.
Between April of that year (when councils were given responsibility of public health) and 2015, £238m was spent on tackling obesity by the LGA, who represent more than 370 councils across England and Wales.
However, the LGA’s public health fund – which is received yearly from the government – will drop from £3.38bn in 2016/17 to £3.13bn in 2020/21.
These funds are put to use in a variety of ways, including BMI measurement for all children at the start and end of primary school, weight loss courses, sporting schemes and reduced cost/free leisure facilities.
One in 10 children between the ages of four and five years is obese, with one in five children between the ages of 10 and 11 years being obese too, according to figures for England in 2014/15.
Izzi Seccombe, a representative of the LGA stated: “The staggering amount of money councils are having to plough into obesity prevention work shows the sheer scale of the crisis we face.
“From working with children who are obese and overweight to encouraging children to cut their consumption of sugary drinks, since taking over responsibility for public health three years ago, local authorities have been leading the way in the fight against obesity.
“But we would like assurances from the government’s new administration that the long-awaited childhood obesity strategy is still on track and that it includes tough measures that will help to reverse the rise in costs and children becoming obese.”

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