Tackling childhood obesity could save NHS £37 billion, says new report
A new report has predicted that halving childhood obesity by 2030 could save the NHS £37 billion.
Published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), the think tank is calling on the government to address the health risks faced by children.
It argues that the UK needs to go ‘further and faster’ to tackle childhood obesity by:
- Expanding ambition from obesity to all health issues
- Tackling the link between childhood health and issues like marginalisation, poverty and deprivation
- Ensuring we are using the full range of levers offered by a collective approach.
The report calls for a ‘whole society’ approach to meet these aims.
Additionally, it estimates that the NHS could save £37 billion if the government achieved its aim of halving childhood obesity by 2030. It also predicts a saving of £202 billion to wider society in England across the lifetimes of the current cohort of young people.
Other estimates include an NHS saving of £66 billion if obesity rates were reversed back to 1980s levels.
The report reads: ‘The earlier the intervention comes, the higher impact and more cost-effective it will often be.
‘This makes childhood health one of the most, if not the most, important frontiers in contemporary health policy. And crucial to making a third giant leap in health outcomes.’
It adds: ‘The full effects of COVID-19 on child health and wellbeing will not be realised for some time. But it is important to recognise that childhood obesity – leading to adult obesity – was a key part of the country’s poor outcomes in the face of the pandemic.’
This comes as the government pledges to clamp down on obesity.
In July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a number of measures aimed at getting the UK healthier.
This included a ban on junk food adverts before 9pm and an end to ‘buy one get one free’ deals on unhealthy foods.
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