Improving public health is a long-term challenge

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Commenting on today's publication of the Health Profile of England by the Department of Health, The King's Fund's Research Fellow in public health Dr Tammy Boyce said:

'Tackling obesity is a long-term challenge and even effective local programmes will not deliver big improvements in national figures right away. The government and the NHS must continue to focus their efforts on supporting people to change their ingrained bad behaviours and to maintain healthier lifestyles. Increases in exercise rates and consumption of fruit and vegetables are encouraging but lack of progress in reducing childhood obesity is a concern as unhealthy habits are learnt at a young age.

'It is crucial not to view problems like teenage pregnancy and rates of sexually transmitted disease in isolation from other policies. Improvements in both these areas are fundamental in reducing health inequalities and it's important to be aware of how different government health strategies can, and should, support each other.'

For more of our work on public health issues, read our report:Commissioning and Behaviour Change: Kicking Bad Habits final report

Notes to editors

  1. The King’s Fund completed a 12-month investigation into how the NHS can help people live healthier lifestyles in December 2008. The Kicking Bad Habits programme’s final report, Commissioning and Behaviour Change.
  2. The NHS Information Centre released figures showing 1 in 4 children aged 4-5 years old are obese, in December 2008.
  3. For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund press and public affairs office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
  4. The King’s Fund seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes  research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.