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New tools to tackle obesity

16 February 2007

The battle to tackle the nation's weight problem is given a major boost today by the publication of a new online 'toolkit' to help local communities, councils and health bodies provide the services and support that overweight and obese people really need.

The toolkit, Lightening the load: tackling overweight and obesity, is a cornucopia of useful statistics, practical initiatives, evidence of effectiveness, checklists, frameworks and examples of good practice.  Published jointly by the National Heart Forum and Faculty of Public Health, the new toolkit incorporates all the latest guidance from NICE (the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence) and other relevant organisations.  It has been fully endorsed by NICE, the Food Standards Agency, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Physicians; and is backed by the Department of Health.

Jane Landon, deputy chief executive of the National Heart Forum said, "Lightening the load will provide primary care trusts and local authorities with an invaluable resource which will help them develop a strategy for tackling overweight and obesity in their local area, taking into account the specific needs of the population, and based on the best available evidence of effectiveness".

Professor Rod Griffiths, President of the Faculty of Public Health said, "The new toolkit is a comprehensive resource which now incorporates an up-to-date summary of evidence-based interventions reviewed by NICE in their obesity guideline. This will help local obesity action teams select the most appropriate interventions to urgently tackle the epidemic of overweight and obesity".

Dr Alan Maryon-Davis, Director of Public Health for Southwark and consultant editor said, "Never before has so much practical information about obesity prevention and management been gathered together in such an accessible form".


  1. Lightening the load can be downloaded free of charge here and from the Faculty of Public Health website at http://www.fph.org.uk/
  2. Hardcopies of Lightening the load will be available from mid-March 2007. Details of how to order a hardcopy will be available shortly. Please note: A postage and packaging fee will be applicable.

Press Contacts

For comment or to arrange interviews, please call Jane Landon or Tim Marsh on 0207 383 7638 during office hours or Jane Landon on 07929 785196.

Notes to editors

  1. Lightening the load: tackling overweight and obesity was originally published online in May 2006. The toolkit has been updated to incorporate the NICE guideline on obesity. The toolkit has been designed to provide a starting point for developing a local strategy to tackle overweight and obesity. It is intended to help local multiagency teams - including public health, health promotion and primary care professionals, and strategic planners in both the NHS and local government in England - to develop and implement strategies and action plans to halt the year-on-year rise of overweight and obesity through prevention and management.
  2. The clinical guideline on obesity was published in December 2006 by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). It is the first ever national guideline addressing both prevention and treatment of obesity in adults and children. The NICE guideline can be downloaded at www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG43.
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