Around £100m in government support has been made available as part of efforts to tackle obesity among adults and children, helping them to achieve and maintain a healthier weight.
The funding is set to be predominantly broken down into two funding pots, one supporting weight management services and the other funding initiatives to help people maintain a healthy weight.
Over £70m of that funding is set to be invested into these weight management services, to be made available through the NHS and local authorities. These services are anticipated to be able to support up to 700,000 adults to access support to help them lose weight, from digital apps, weight management groups or individual coaches through to specialist support.
The remaining £30m will fund initiatives to help people maintain a healthy weight through a range of steps and services, including access to the free NHS 12-week weight loss plan app and continuing the successful Better Health marketing campaign to motivate people to make healthier choices.
Part of this smaller, secondary funding pot will also go towards upskilling healthcare professionals to support those in early years and childhood with intervention and enhanced training packages, helping up to 6,000 children and families to lead healthy lives.
The pandemic has shown the serious implications of living with excess weight, causing a greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19 - with that risk then growing substantially as body mass index (BMI) increases.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said: “Losing weight is hard, but making small changes can make a big difference.
“Being overweight increases the risk of becoming ill with Covid-19. If we all do our bit, we can reduce our own health risks – but also help take pressure off the NHS.
“This funding will give extra support to people across the country who want to lose weight too.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Helping people to achieve or maintain a healthier weight is complex and can be a very hard task.
“We want to make it easier for people to lose weight, which is why our funding set out today ensures those across all ages have the right level of support and tools they need to make healthier lifestyle choices.
“These measures will allow us to work with local authorities and optimise different areas of our healthcare services to encourage healthy behaviours for all.
“The urgency of tackling obesity has been brought to the fore by evidence of the link to an increased risk from Covid-19, so it’s vital we take action on obesity to protect the NHS and improve our nation’s health.”