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Obesity: North West Region

Health written question – answered on 21st January 2008.

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Photo of Stephen Hesford Stephen Hesford PPS (Vera Baird QC, Solicitor General), Law Officers' Department

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies his Department has commissioned into child obesity levels in the North West and their implications for the future health of people in the region.

Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Minister of State (Department of Health) (Public Health)

The prevalence of childhood obesity is measured in the North West through the National Child Measurement Programme. This is a national programme through which the height and weight of children in reception (four and five-year-olds) and year 6 (10 and 11-year-olds) throughout the country are measured. This data is used to inform local planning and commissioning of services for children as well as providing population-level surveillance data to allow analysis of trends in growth patterns and obesity.

Assessment of the potential health impact will be made through a range of national studies. In particular, the Department has established the National Child Measurement Programme (which will report North West figures in 2008) as well as the Health Survey for England to measure obesity levels throughout England.

The North West strategic health authority reports that there are a number of actions being taken forward locally to help reduce overweight and obesity in the North West. This includes the development of two e-learning modules to provide flexible learning for front-line primary care staff in the region to enable them to support patients to reduce their levels of weight and obesity. The aim of these are to ensure that important messages about diet, physical activity and behavioural changes are consistent, high quality and that interventions are based in primary care settings across the North West.

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