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Tories criticise obesity strategy

The Conservatives have claimed that the government is failing to identify and support children at risk of obesity.

Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that in a recent poll not a single NHS trust could say it was implementing guidelines on identifying and supporting youngsters.

Guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 2006 called for families and children at risk of obesity to be identified and supported.

A total of 48 out of 151 primary care trusts (PCTs) responded to the request from the Tories.

Of these, 38 either could provide no data at all or stated outright it was not policy in their area. A further 10 were unable to give any evidence that the NICE guidance was being followed, but gave details of current child support programmes.

The Tories said it was unclear whether these programmes would help identify at-risk children in advance.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Only two PCTs offered any information that they were identifying and helping children at risk.

"This exposes Labour's short-term thinking and shows how little priority it's given to public health."

But health minister Dawn Primarolo rejected the claim. She said: "Just last month we set out a comprehensive cross-government obesity strategy backed by over £300m of extra investment. We also made tackling obesity a priority for the NHS in the new operating framework and will be monitoring closely the steps taken at a local level to tackle this public health challenge."

The Conservative Party

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