Government seeks agency list for anti-obesity drive

The Government is seeking agencies to pitch for its estimated 7m anti-obesity campaign. It will be the latest stage of an initiative steered by health secretary Alan Johnson which will push the obesity issue to the top of the national health agenda.

Obesity%20The Government is seeking agencies to pitch for its estimated £7m anti-obesity campaign. It will be the latest stage of an initiative steered by health secretary Alan Johnson which will push the obesity issue to the top of the national health agenda.

The Department of Health will start the pitch next month. The move comes as the Government releases the full version of its Foresight report this week. This is expected to show that half of the UK population will be obese within 25 years. The pitch will be handled by COI.

Last weekend, Johnson said the obesity problem was on a par with climate change and warned the UK “can’t afford to not act”.

The Foresight study, compiled over two years, reportedly claims that rising obesity levels will cost the country £45bn a year by 2050 through increased medical care and missed working hours.

However, the Government has come under fire for not taking a tougher approach. Consumer body Which? says it should introduce a 9pm watershed for junk food ads and enforce tougher restrictions for non-broadcast marketing in the next three months.

Earlier this month, the Government revealed plans to launch a task force, which will include advertisers, to push its “eat sensibly, take more exercise” message (MW October 4).

The task force is likely to include the newly-formed Department for Children, Schools and Families, whose remit is to ensure that young people stay healthy, safe and secure.

The DoH is also launching a healthy-eating advertising push aimed at low-income households next month.

The campaign will feature the strapline “Top tips for mums” and aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in families with young children.

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