Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, said that reducing childhood obesity is his commitment to this parliament and that his plan on it will be announced by the end of the year.
He also said there needs to be continued progress in terms of culture inside the NHS, including more accountability and transparency.
Addressing the audience of health professionals at the Public Health England conference in Coventry, he said: “I want to be accountable to you for more than just saying words that I hope you’ll agree with. The biggest area that you should hold the government to account for, because of the commitment I’m making today, is around childhood obesity. That’s my commitment to this parliament…
“The plan will be an integrated, cross-government approach that draws on what needs to happen in terms of children walking to school, transport, physical activity in schools, the way products are marketed to children, the way that fast food outlets are able to set up in schools… as well as the very basic issues of diet,” the health minister said.
NHS England’s aim is to also educate obese parents who may not want to be told directly how to lose weight themselves, through providing information to help their children, he said.
“The reason childhood obesity matters, and works, is because whilst adults don’t like being told by the state, and certainly don’t like being told by politicians what they should or shouldn’t eat, they are interested in knowing what’s healthy for their children,” he added.
The plan also look at the mental health of people who are classified obese and may have trouble dealing with it, in order to “be very careful that we don’t stigmatise or demonise those people”.