Matt Hancock backs parenting classes as calls for 'targeted support' to help combat obesity epidemic 


The Health Secretary has backed parenting classes to tackle Britain’s obesity epidemic ahead of the launch of a national review.

Matt Hancock said he believed in “targeted support” for families, highlighting a scheme in Leeds which has been the first English city to see a fall in the number developing weight problems.

The eight week programme aims to show parents how to “take charge” of their children’s diet, and encourage healthy habits.

Today Mr Hancock will ask the country’s chief medical officer to review the evidence on which measures work best to combat obesity.

Last night he told The Daily Telegraph: “I want targeted support and I want lots more support in schools. Leeds is the only place in the UK where obesity levels are falling. It is targeted interventions at the people who really need support, rather than taking the same approach to everybody,” he said.

Mr Hancock – who was last week teased for his own habits when caught on camera eating a waffle  – added: “There is some who say we need blanket measures across everybody, but everybody enjoys the odd caramel waffle from time to time. All things in moderation, but we do need targeted support for people who particularly need our help.”

The review by Prof Dame Sally Davies will examine which measures could help to meet targets to halve rates of childhood obesity by 2030.

Research involving ­Oxford University found that the eight-week programme  In Leeds showing parents how to “take charge” has been linked to a significant drop in obesity levels.

The scheme, which costs councils £50 per family, is aimed particularly at ­deprived areas.

Ministers have said efforts to prevent obesity in ­toddlers will form a central part of a Green Paper this summer. The Government’s ­former obesity tsar said the results were “astonishing”.


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