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Government reveals new health strategy

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A cross-governmental action plan for improving the nation’s health and activity levels has been published.

Called Choosing Activity, the plan aims to promote activity for all, in accordance with recommendations set out in a recent report by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

The CMO said that, if levels of physical activity are to increase in England, a culture change needed to occur which would only be achieved if people understood the benefits of being active.

To this end, a new strategy will be introduced to promote health and encourage employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors to engage and motivate staff to become more active.

There will also be workplace pilots to test out interventions across a range of healthy behaviours with a focus on promoting physical activity. A specific type of workplace will be concentrated on, such as a local council or a small and medium-sized business. The DoH, Sport England, Big Lottery Fund, British Heart Foundation and Business in the Community (BITC) will all be involved in this scheme.

The Department of Health (DoH) will lead the government in the development of an obesity education campaign, which will also include the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the Department for Transport (DfT), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and stakeholders such as the sport and leisure industry, consumers, health professionals and the media.

Furthermore, a campaign to raise awareness of the health risks of obesity will be launched in March 2007 and Sport England and DCMS will widen the coverage of activity opportunities on the Active Places website by the summer of this year.

Health Secretary John Reid said: ”The plan of action shows how our vision translates into action. It outlines the key steps that need to be taken over the next three years to deliver the targets set out in our White Paper to help people make healthier choices and prevent ill health caused by poor diet and lack of exercise.” Details: www.dh.gov.uk

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A cross-governmental action plan for improving the nation’s health and activity levels has been published.
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