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Fat fighters

An obesity toolkit containing practical tips and information is being launched to help people improve their health.

With almost a quarter of the adult population now classified as obese and with the proportion of obese children rising by more than 40% between 1995 and 2004, an obesity toolkit is being published to help local councils and health bodies support people in their area with their weight problems.

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said: "Most people know they should eat more fruit and vegetables, and do more exercise but sometimes they need a nudge in the right direction to get them on the road to improving their health.

"That's where the obesity toolkit can help - providing a raft of information and tools such as useful statistics, practical initiatives and examples of good practice. It has been set up to provide local planners with a starting point for developing a local strategy to tackle overweight and obesity tailor made for their areas."

The launch of the online toolkit comes as thousands of young people are using the new Teen Life Check - a quick online quiz-style questionnaire primarily aimed at 12 and 13 year olds.

The online questionnaires give young people the opportunity to take greater responsibility for their health and well being as the questionnaires help them understand how their lifestyles may affect their health and direct them to information and resources to help them improve their health.

Caroline Flint continued: "The Teen Life Check empowers young people by allowing them to personally assess the impact their lifestyles may be having on their health. The tool provides young people with info and resources to help them make positive health changes. In many cases, the life check will be the first chance the young person has had to think holistically about their behaviour and how it affects their health."

Jane Landon, deputy chief executive of the National Heart Forum said: "The obesity toolkit will provide primary care trusts and local authorities with an invaluable online resource which will help them develop a strategy for tackling overweight and obesity in their local area, taking into account the specific needs of the population, and based on the best available evidence of effectiveness."