Restrictions on health scheme

The Government has advised local organisations to avoid terms such as 'health', 'weight' and 'obesity' when promoting anti-obesity campaigns.

The NHS's Healthy Weight Healthy Lives toolkit for developing local anti-obesity strategies was issued to primary care trusts and local authorities this month. It is intended to help these bodies plan strategies to prevent obesity.

It says: 'Concepts such as "health" and "healthy lifestyles" can be alienating terms to families most at risk of problems.'

The toolkit suggests that 'talking directly about "obesity" and "weight" may alienate parents and cause them to reject themselves as the target audience'. Communicators are also advised to focus on either diet or physical activity, but not both.

Messages should focus on 'shocking' parents with long-term negative consequences of failing to change behaviour, says the guidance.

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