DoH unveils its ‘official’ obesity strategy

The Department of Health has officially launched its obesity strategy, Change4Life, today (November 11). It has also confirmed an industry consortium, led by the Advertising Association, as a Government partner.

The initiative, which was revealed in the summer, aims to cut obesity by offering all stakeholders a platform to develop campaigns and activities. It includes retailers, such as Tesco, broadcasters, including ITV and BSkyB, and a variety of multi-national FMCG companies such as Kellogg’s. More than 12,400 charities and grass roots organisations including Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation are also involved.

M&C Saatchi was appointed earlier this year to handle advertising for the Change4Life initiative.

Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Health, says: “It is unprecedented for supermarkets to join the Government and pledge to cut prices on healthy food. But this isn’t an exclusive club. Anyone who promises to help families to be healthier can join.”

He also challenges “every chief executive of every company who can influence what we eat and how we exercise” to develop a way to join the strategy.

The industry consortium, under the name Business4Life, will contribute more than £200m over four years in addition to Government funding of £75m. It has 33 members including manufacturers, media and advertising agencies, media owners

Plans include a strategies such as Kellogg’s, which will expand its Breakfast Clubs, under the Breakfast4Life banner, and promote exercise through Swim4LIFE. Asda will promote healthy eating but also encourage families and staff to exercise through Bike4Life. There will also be a series of different campaigns, including healthy food promotions and advice on exercise, from companies using the Change4Life banner.

Peta Buscombe, chief executive of the Advertising Association, says: “Through this coalition, we are all marketing a strong statement we are committed to working with Government and the voluntary sector to transform the health of the nation and be a force for good.”

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