25 January 2008
The government might offer money or other financial rewards to individuals to lead healthier lifestyles, under the £372m obesity strategy outlined this week.
It will also look at incentives for employers. In addition, NHS funding flows could be changed to promote upfront investment in healthy living projects.
The government described the strategy as a first step in its attempts to stem a problem that could result in almost 60% of UK adults being obese by 2050. It will cross government departments and include councils, the NHS, games console manufacturers and the food industry.
Schools will be a major focus, with an increase in exercise, identification of families at risk and compulsory cookery lessons.
As well as a new food labelling code, £30m will be invested in infrastructure such as cycle paths, to create 'healthy towns'.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson said a wide-ranging, collaborative approach was necessary. 'It is not the government's role to hector or lecture people, but we do have a duty to support them in leading healthier lifestyles,' he added.