Towns chosen for £30m plan to fight obesity

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Nine English towns have been chosen to try out a series of health initiatives designed to head off a looming epidemic of obesity, the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, has announced.

Among the schemes being tested in the £30m Healthy Towns programme is a loyalty card allowing individuals to earn points by buying healthy food and taking part in exercise which can be redeemed for free sportswear or games equipment.

Other ideas include redesigning town centres to encourage walking and cycling, a grow-your-own fruit and vegetable scheme for social housing tenants, urban gardens in areas hit by floods and a "cycle-recycle" project to help people ride and repair their bikes.

Action will be taken to make parks more attractive, and safe "active travel corridors" will be created to link people's homes with "health hubs".

The government-commissioned Foresight report, published last year, warned that unless action is taken, nine out of 10 British adults and two-thirds of children will be overweight or obese by 2050.