New office to tackle health inequalities

A new Office for Health Promotion will lead national efforts to improve and level up the health of the nation by tackling obesity, improving mental health and promoting physical activity, the Government has announced.

Expected to be established by the autumn, the office’s lead will report to the Health Secretary and Chief Medical Officer.

A large proportion of people’s health outcomes (around 80 per cent) are not related to the healthcare they receive but to wider preventable risk factors, such as diet, smoking, and exercise. 

The Office for Health Promotion will help inform a new cross-government agenda that will look to track these wider determinants of health and implement policies in other departments where appropriate, according to ministers. 

It will address and tackle important public health issues, including obesity and nutrition, mental health across all ages, physical activity, sexual health, alcohol and tobacco, and work with local government as well as the NHS, academia, scientists and others to develop evidence-informed policies.

Cllr Paulette Hamilton, Vice-Chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Everyone agrees that prevention is better than cure. 

“Any move to help make our residents happier and healthier is encouraging and councils look forward to working with the new Office for Health Promotion.

“All parts of the public health system – including councils’ public health services – have a role to play in promoting healthier choices, preventing sickness and intervening early, to reduce the need for costly hospital treatment and social care.”

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