Less than 1% of public health budget is used to treat obesity in children
Only 2.5 per cent of local council budgets are used to treat adult obesity
A minute amount of money is being used to combat childhood obesity, despite it being a top health priority, according to new figures released Monday.
The disclosure is fuelling fears of an impending obesity crisis within a generation.
For less than one per cent of local council public health budgets is being allocated towards treating children. Figures obtained by Freedom of Information requests found just 2.5 per cent of local council budgets were spent treating adult obesity and even less – 0.9 per cent – in children.
The figures, which incorporate responses from 109 local authorities across England and Wales, are dwarfed by budgets allocated towards tackling other issues such as substance misuse (29 per cent according to the study) and sexual health (21 per cent).
Doctors fear that a lack of priority in treating childhood obesity is accelerating previous forecasts that suggest half the British population will be obese by 2050. More than 70 children have reportedly been put into care in the last five years because they are morbidly obese.
Local authorities were allocated responsibility for public health in April last year, under NHS reforms which aimed to make councils do more to promote healthy living. But Monday’s report, released by obesity charity Hoop, calls for Whitehall to claw back control in a “last-ditch effort to defuse the obesity timebomb”.
Jill Tipton, the charity’s co-director and a spokeswoman, said: “This report echoes the experiences of our members that quality obesity services are not available. It is hard to understand why other public health issues take a disproportionate share of the public health allocation when the direct and indirect costs of obesity are so much higher.”
Tam Fry, a spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said: "There were previously good treatments for children which were effective and relied on charitable money. But the Department of Health has refused to fund them properly and left local authorities to cope as best they could. Many simply haven’t been able to come up to scratch.
“Now as obesity becomes the biggest timebomb for the health of our population we have got councils who are not in a position to make it a priority.”
Laurence Buckman, the former BMA General Practitioners Committee chair, told The Independent: “Obesity used to be the disease of old men – now it’s that of children and we have to move to tackle it much earlier. But every council is effectively bankrupt and cannot be expected to sort it out. Instead of being expected to manage obesity services it would be good see them combat the availability of junk food in their local area.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: "As a country we need to wake up to the obesity time bomb - and that includes local councils as well. With the freedoms they now have and a ring fenced public health budget, they must make sure they give it the appropriate priority."
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 3 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 4 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
- 5 Cristiano Ronaldo storms out of interview after being asked about possible sale of Manchester United target Sergio Ramos
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Eiji Tsuburaya: Godzilla co-creator honoured in today's interactive Google Doodle
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...