The NHS’s Chief Executive has urged Theresa May to rapidly adopt an “activist” strategy to combat the UK’s child obesity crisis.
Writing in the Telegraph today, Simon Stevens noted that child obesity was “piling on billions in future NHS costs”, warning that “we now spend more on obesity than on the police and fire service combined.”
Stevens also stressed the role of obesity in maintaining inequality in Britain: “if you’re concerned about life chances you need to act on prevention and health inequalities”, he said.
“Smoking explains half the difference in longevity between rich and poor, obesity is the new smoking: poor diet is now our biggest avoidable cause of ill health.”
Along with a structural overhaul of the NHS, which will see money transferred from hospitals to GP surgeries, and joined-up social and medical care systems, he wrote he would like to see “comprehensive action on food reformulation, promotions and advertising.”
Earlier this week Jamie Oliver asked May not to water down the government’s planned strategy for child obesity. In a video for the Huffington Post he called on the Prime Minister to maintain the sugar tax and to implement other strategies, saying he would “do anything” to help.
“Theresa come on, we need you, please. I know you’ve got my cookbooks, so I know you cook.
“And if you cook there’s a chance that goodness is in there. And the good will prevail!”