The child obesity PSA target was set in July 2004, but the key ingredients of the delivery plan will not be published until May 2006. Tackling Childhood Obesity–First Steps warns that a lack of timely guidance has meant that the various organisations that will need to work together to deliver the target have been unclear about their roles. Without greater clarity, those further down the delivery chain may be wasting resources on ineffective or inappropriate interventions that fail to target those children most at risk.
"Central Government must set a clear direction if we are to tackle obesity in children. Given that the target was established in 2004, the three Government Departments could have been quicker in co-ordinating their own actions and in making sure that those on the frontline were fully informed and supported in their efforts. There is now a need for the three Departments to work closely together to provide the leadership and direction that the whole delivery chain requires."
The childhood obesity target is far-reaching and complex, requiring significant changes in the lifestyles of many children and their families to improve their diet and to exercise more. This target is tougher to deliver because it requires the coordination of many diverse organisations at regional, local and front line level, who all have a key role to play in tackling child obesity.
"Childhood obesity is a serious health problem that can follow people much later into life. It is a causal factor in a number of chronic diseases and conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If we are serious about tackling childhood obesity then all government agencies and organisations must work together more effectively. Those of us involved in inspection and assessment must ensure that this partnership working really takes place nationally and locally."