Book News: October 16th, 2008

This toolkit sets out a framework that local authorities and primary care trusts can use to develop local plans. It provides detailed support for a coordinated approach by local multi-disciplinary teams to tackling overweight and obesity in the local area.

It has been estimated that failure to take action would result in about one-third of adults and one-fifth of children aged 2-10 years becoming obese by 2010. Nearly 60 per cent of the UK population could be obese by 2050. This could mean a doubling in the direct healthcare costs of overweight and obesity, with the wider costs to society and business reaching 49.9 billion pounds by 2050.

The rapid increase in levels of overweight and obesity cannot be attributed to genetic changes and the growing health problems are likely to be caused by behavioural and environmental changes in society. Added to this, overweight and obesity are health inequalities issues, with people from the lowest socioeconomic groups most at risk.

The toolkit offers signposts to well established and comprehensive material covered elsewhere. It focuses on the public health case for developing a local overweight and obesity strategy. It also discusses the terms
overweight and obesity; provides data on the prevalence and trends of overweight and obesity in children and adults. It also discusses the health risks of excess weight and the health benefits of losing excess weight.

It also looks at ways of tackling overweight and obesity. It focuses on the key themes of a cross-government strategy for England as the basis for tackling excess weight, ensuring the healthy growth and healthy weight of children and the importance of preventing excessive weight gain.

The toolkit is available from DoH.