On the agenda - Put on your dancing shoes

In a nutshell

Health secretary Alan Johnson wants to encourage the public to hit the dance floor to counter the obesity epidemic. Johnson was inspired by BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing after watching John Sergeant perform.

What does he want to do?

Johnson intends to create dance workshops with the Strictly judges. 'The point about dance is you don't have to be a professional,' said Johnson in an interview with The Sunday Times. 'You don't have to be brilliant on your feet but it gets you moving and that is what all of us need.'

What's the reasoning?

Obesity is fast becoming the developed world's biggest health problem, responsible for more than 9,000 deaths a year in England. Adult obesity rates have quadrupled over the past 25 years, and two-thirds of UK adults are now overweight. According the National Audit Office, being obese can take up to nine years off your life.

What else is being done to tackle the problem?

The Government launched its Change4Life campaign last month to get families fitter and eating healthier. Johnson also proposes encouraging GPs to prescribe exercise instead of, or as well as, drugs.

Media coverage

The story first appeared in The Sunday Times. This led to further coverage on the BBC health website, the Daily Mirror and was featured on BBC Breakfast News.

PR support

The Department of Health's in-house media team is handling enquiries arising from the original interview.

66% - Per cent of UK adults are considered overweight

10% - Per cent of six-year-olds are now clinically obese

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