Government anti-obesity campaign to run PR blitz

The Government plans to draft in PR agency support for a national anti-obesity campaign linked to London’s 2012 Olympics bid.

The PR blitz will form part of the campaign to get at least 75 per cent of the population ‘active’ by 2020.

A spokesman at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – which is developing the campaign alongside the Department of Health – said the agency recruitment process would get under way ‘early in the new year’, with the campaign kicking off in April.

However, he dismissed a report, published last week, that said £1m would be lavished on publicity as ‘pure speculation’ and declined to comment on potential PR spend.

The spokesman said it was ‘quite possible’ COI Communications would co-ordinate the agency hire, but added this was ‘something that has yet to be discussed’.

The campaign is being developed by the Activity Co-ordination Team, chaired at ministerial level by sports minister Richard Caborn and public health minister Melanie Johnson. The team includes representatives from bodies such as Sport England.

The campaign will begin in 2004 and will try to link with London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics, for which PR activity will intensify next year.

In June, the Government’s chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson described data showing the number of Britons affected by obesity to have tripled in the past 20 years as ‘chilling’.

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