NICE consults on new public health guidance aiming to help prevent obesity

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently developing new public health guidance on community-wide action to help prevent obesity. Draft recommendations have been published on the NICE website today (8 May) for public consultation.

Professor Mike Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE said: “Obesity not only increases the risk of serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, but dealing with the long term consequences of obesity costs an estimated £5.1 billion1 each year, placing a huge strain on the health service.Levels of obesity in England are increasing with over a quarter of the adult population now classed as obese2. It is also estimated that these figures could potentially reach 60% for adult men, 50% for adult women and 25% for children by 20503.

“The aim of this new draft guidance is to help tackle obesity using a ‘community wide' approach, by encouraging different organisations including local government, community groups and networks to take action and work together to plan and implement their own local strategies to prevent obesity in their community. The draft recommendations emphasise the importance of working with local people to decide what action to take. People's concerns about their local areas, such as crime or poorly maintained public areas may affect whether they walk or cycle locally, and in turn their level of activity can affect obesity. What works in one locality may not always work in another and interventions need to be tailored for each area,integrating with existing strategies.”

The new draft recommendations are aimed at local policy makers, commissioners, managers, practitioners and other professionals across all sectors of the local community.

Draft recommendations include:

  • Activities should be integrated within a wider health and wellbeing strategy and broader regeneration and environmental strategies. Action should be aligned with other disease-specific prevention strategies. For example, initiatives to prevent type 2 diabetes, cancers and cardiovascular disease, as well as initiatives to promote mental health.
  • Community involvement and public health teams should gather local residents' views to identify their priorities in relation to weight issues and more general concerns. For example, residents may feel that issues such as crime, the lack of well-maintained green space, or the lack of a sense of community are their top priorities. Where possible, the teams should make it explicit that often general concerns can (and do) impact on levels of obesity within the community.
  • Public health coordinators, with support from directors of public health, should establish methods for involving private organisations in the implementation of the local obesity strategy. This includes, for example, caterers, leisure providers, the local chamber of commerce, retailers and other workplaces. They should consider developing local activities based on national initiatives to achieve this.

Once published, this guidance will provide a framework for existing NICE guidance that directly or indirectly impacts on obesity prevention and management. It will focus on an overarching approach to obesity in local communities, and the importance of integrating obesity with other local agendas (such as initiatives to prevent type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease). The ongoing structural changes to the public sector, particularly local authorities and the NHS, have been an important consideration in developing the draft recommendations.

The draft guidance is available on the NICE website. Anyone wishing to submit comments on the draft guidance is invited to do so via the NICE website between 8 May and 8 June.


Notes to Editors


1. Scarborough et al. 2011

2. The Health and Social Care Information Centre 2012

3. Foresight 2007

About the guidance

4. The draft guidance will be available on the NICE website from 8 May 2012. This guidance does not cover interventions in a particular setting (such as a school or workplace) that do not involve the wider community or wider partnership working.

About NICE

5. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health

6. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

  • Public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
  • Health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
  • Clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.

7. NICE produces standards for patient care:

  • Quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
  • Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients

8. NICE provides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice through its implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.

This page was last updated: 11 May 2012

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.