GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window
HID Global
HID Global
HID Global
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

News

689 weak policies by successive governments blamed for failure to tackle UK's obesity crisis.

The failure to tackle the UK's obesity crisis is down to successive governments being guilty of weak policy design, lack of effectiveness and botched implementation.

That is the message of a hard-hitting report – published this week – which studied 14 government obesity strategies published from 1992 to 2020, containing a total of 689 wide‐ranging policies.

According to the study, the approach taken by governments to their own policies has "destined them to fail", as there has been a reliance on attempting to influence individuals to change their behaviours – rather than changing unhealthy environments.

There has also been a reluctance to learn from any previous failures – or very rare successes.

The study – conducted by a team at the University of Cambridge and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – doesn't pull any punches: "Our study has provided new evidence that in almost 30 years, the UK government has proposed 689 wide‐ranging policies to tackle obesity in England but has not yet successfully and consistently reduced obesity prevalence or health inequities," say the report's authors – Dolly Theis and Martin White.

"Only one of the 14 government strategies commissioned an independent evaluation of previous government strategies for obesity, which suggests a significant deficit of government policy learning and may explain why similar or identical policies are put forward multiple times over many years.

"Many of these policies were set out in a way that does not readily lead to implementation, and the largest proportion of policies did not fulfill any of the implementation viability criteria.

"Overall, governments have adopted less interventionist policy approaches, although this has changed in recent years.

"The policies have relied on a 'high agency' design that relies on individuals to make behaviour changes, rather than shaping external influences such as the environment or economy and are thus less likely to be effective or reduce health inequities.

"We found that a wide range of inadequacies related to government obesity policies are likely to explain why governments have repeatedly failed to reduce the inequalities in, and the prevalence of, obesity.

"To increase the likelihood of policies being implemented, governments should accompany policy proposals with information ensuring they can readily lead to implementation, such as a clearly identified responsible agent, evaluation plan, and time frame.

"To increase the likelihood of effectiveness and equitability, governments should increasingly focus obesity strategies on 'low agency' population intervention policies that more comprehensively address the most powerful levers for system change."

Liz Terry, editor of HCM said: "COVID-19 preys on people with excess body fat and yet the government is failing to develop policies to address this or to sufficiently engage sectors – such as the health and fitness industry – which could be driving successful interventions.

"This is a hard thing to say, but as a society, the UK is at the eye of a perfect storm when it comes to the obesity challenge. Firstly, we are failing to teach children self-care, so they know how to eat well, exercise and lead a balanced life; secondly, society judges people who are overweight, creating a complex emotional and social minefield that needs to be unravelled before we can enable behaviour change and thirdly, we've cultivated a culture of dependency on the NHS, whereby too many people think they can live any way they choose without consequence and the NHS will fix them for free when it all goes wrong.

"As a society, we imbue the NHS with seemingly magical properties and view it as a huge comfort blanket that negates personal responsibility. It can indeed perform miracles, but testing it beyond its limit each day is not wise or sustainable.

"Over 75 per cent of all disease is lifestyle-related and the government must really refocus on prevention – not just talk about it – engage with the industries that can help and start creating change right now. Lives are being lost with every day we delay."

• To read the full report, click here.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Related news

Government fails to highlight exercise in new childhood obesity strategy

26 Jun 2018
The latest chapter of the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan – published this week – has ...

'Sugar Tax' comes into force – will benefit sports at schools

06 Apr 2018
The Soft Drinks Industry Levy has come into effect today (6 April), in a move ...
Latest News
US fitness industry revenue dropped 58 per cent during 2020 – from the US$35bn all-time ...
Latest News
The UK government is exploring whether incentivising people financially to take part in physical activity ...
Latest News
The Budget announcement has left the UK's physical activity sector with "unanswered questions" and vowing ...
Latest News
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled an additional £700m funding boost for sports and culture, as ...
Latest News
The merger of two tech firms will result in the creation of a business software ...
Latest News
3d Leisure has put the current lockdown to good use, by stepping in to help ...
Latest News
Gyms and leisure centres in Scotland are set to open on 26 April, provided that ...
Latest News
Hundreds of gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres have been forced to close and thousands ...
HCM Magazine
Interview
We’re planning five to six openings a year, but we could easily double that if we are able to find the locations. In the longer term, I think we could easily have 70 EVO clubs in Norway
HCM Magazine
Promotion
Creating spaces where exercisers feel both safe and inspired to return to the gym is vital, says James Anderson
HCM Magazine
Reopening
Craig Blain outlines the challenges and opportunities facing operators who are aiming to appeal to a diverse membership
HCM Magazine
Ask An Expert
Although extensions to the UK government’s rent moratorium have continued so far, when the end comes, it will represent a cliff edge. Unless agreements can be struck with landlords, or the government intervenes, some operators could be liable for a year or more of back rent, which could be catastrophic, as Kath Hudson reports
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Technogym’s Live and On-Demand solution is transformational for its clients
HCM Magazine
HCM People
Before the first lockdown we’d just kicked off an international research project, so we absolutely see Gymbox going global
HCM Magazine
Promotion
Gympass has been busy innovating and forging powerful partnerships. We find out more
HCM Magazine
HCM magazine
The vision is a global brand with over 1,000 stores
HCM magazine
HCM People

Dame Sarah Storey

Active Travel Commissioner, Sheffield City Region
Connected and continuous infrastructure ensure journeys via active modes no longer have to suffer the usual delay and inconvenience
HCM magazine
HCM People

Vern Hill

Founder, Carifit
Our free online membership, Carifit 4 All, was designed to help mothers get back into fitness and is now listed in the Royal College of GP’s Clinical Lifestyle Toolkit
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Forget the ‘Netflix effect’ – it’s all about the ‘iFit effect’ to boost member retention
Addiction – a word laden with negativity. But isn’t that exactly what the fitness industry wants? For members to be addicted (in a healthy way) to exercise – not just to increase profits but, most importantly, so they can live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: AskNicely helps empower businesses to improve customer experience and boost NPS
Maintaining a consistent member experience across a growing health and fitness brand can prove challenging.
Video Gallery
CPASE creates unforgettable luxury member experience at new boutique club with Technogym
Technogym
Technogym has equipped Clare Stobart's new boutique health club – CPASE. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Les Mills UK
Committed to creating a fitter planet, Les Mills UK works with clubs and instructors to ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Premier Software Solutions Ltd
Premier Software was founded in 1994 and has proven experience developing business management solutions specifically ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Venueserve Fitness
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

News

689 weak policies by successive governments blamed for failure to tackle UK's obesity crisis.

The failure to tackle the UK's obesity crisis is down to successive governments being guilty of weak policy design, lack of effectiveness and botched implementation.

That is the message of a hard-hitting report – published this week – which studied 14 government obesity strategies published from 1992 to 2020, containing a total of 689 wide‐ranging policies.

According to the study, the approach taken by governments to their own policies has "destined them to fail", as there has been a reliance on attempting to influence individuals to change their behaviours – rather than changing unhealthy environments.

There has also been a reluctance to learn from any previous failures – or very rare successes.

The study – conducted by a team at the University of Cambridge and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) – doesn't pull any punches: "Our study has provided new evidence that in almost 30 years, the UK government has proposed 689 wide‐ranging policies to tackle obesity in England but has not yet successfully and consistently reduced obesity prevalence or health inequities," say the report's authors – Dolly Theis and Martin White.

"Only one of the 14 government strategies commissioned an independent evaluation of previous government strategies for obesity, which suggests a significant deficit of government policy learning and may explain why similar or identical policies are put forward multiple times over many years.

"Many of these policies were set out in a way that does not readily lead to implementation, and the largest proportion of policies did not fulfill any of the implementation viability criteria.

"Overall, governments have adopted less interventionist policy approaches, although this has changed in recent years.

"The policies have relied on a 'high agency' design that relies on individuals to make behaviour changes, rather than shaping external influences such as the environment or economy and are thus less likely to be effective or reduce health inequities.

"We found that a wide range of inadequacies related to government obesity policies are likely to explain why governments have repeatedly failed to reduce the inequalities in, and the prevalence of, obesity.

"To increase the likelihood of policies being implemented, governments should accompany policy proposals with information ensuring they can readily lead to implementation, such as a clearly identified responsible agent, evaluation plan, and time frame.

"To increase the likelihood of effectiveness and equitability, governments should increasingly focus obesity strategies on 'low agency' population intervention policies that more comprehensively address the most powerful levers for system change."

Liz Terry, editor of HCM said: "COVID-19 preys on people with excess body fat and yet the government is failing to develop policies to address this or to sufficiently engage sectors – such as the health and fitness industry – which could be driving successful interventions.

"This is a hard thing to say, but as a society, the UK is at the eye of a perfect storm when it comes to the obesity challenge. Firstly, we are failing to teach children self-care, so they know how to eat well, exercise and lead a balanced life; secondly, society judges people who are overweight, creating a complex emotional and social minefield that needs to be unravelled before we can enable behaviour change and thirdly, we've cultivated a culture of dependency on the NHS, whereby too many people think they can live any way they choose without consequence and the NHS will fix them for free when it all goes wrong.

"As a society, we imbue the NHS with seemingly magical properties and view it as a huge comfort blanket that negates personal responsibility. It can indeed perform miracles, but testing it beyond its limit each day is not wise or sustainable.

"Over 75 per cent of all disease is lifestyle-related and the government must really refocus on prevention – not just talk about it – engage with the industries that can help and start creating change right now. Lives are being lost with every day we delay."

• To read the full report, click here.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Related news

Government fails to highlight exercise in new childhood obesity strategy

26 Jun 2018
The latest chapter of the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan – published this week – has ...

'Sugar Tax' comes into force – will benefit sports at schools

06 Apr 2018
The Soft Drinks Industry Levy has come into effect today (6 April), in a move ...

News

US fitness industry revenue dropped 58 per cent during 2020 – from the US$35bn all-time
The UK government is exploring whether incentivising people financially to take part in physical activity
The Budget announcement has left the UK's physical activity sector with "unanswered questions" and vowing
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled an additional £700m funding boost for sports and culture, as
The merger of two tech firms will result in the creation of a business software
3d Leisure has put the current lockdown to good use, by stepping in to help
Miha Bodytec GmbH
Miha Bodytec GmbH
Heading into 2021, storytelling will be a key trend among fitness content creators and connected
Gyms and leisure centres in Scotland are set to open on 26 April, provided that
Hundreds of gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres have been forced to close and thousands
People placing increased emphasis on their physical fitness, the advances made in digital fitness and
A new guide looks to offer local level practitioners and commissioners – as well as
What are the effects on public health of gyms and leisure centres being shut during
Mobile data and analytics provider App Annie has released its State Of Mobile 2021 report,
fibodo Limited
fibodo Limited
Addiction – a word laden with negativity. But isn’t that exactly what the fitness industry
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled to November. The event will
PM, Boris Johnson, has confirmed that gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres in England will
The re-opening of gyms in Wales has been pushed back by the country's First Minister
The physical and mental health of women in the UK has been put under unprecedented
Excess body fat and obesity are likely to have contributed to more deaths in England
The financial performance of health club operator SATS in the last quarter of 2020 was
Gympass
Gympass
Precor has launched a mobile app to accompany its popular networked fitness solution, Preva, which
FIBO has announced that its Chinese event next month will be held as a hybrid
Placing gyms and leisure centres at the front of the queue for reopening would be
Safe Space Lockers
Safe Space Lockers
1 - 20 of 11,803
HCM Magazine
Interview
We’re planning five to six openings a year, but we could easily double that if we are able to find the locations. In the longer term, I think we could easily have 70 EVO clubs in Norway
HCM Magazine
Promotion
Creating spaces where exercisers feel both safe and inspired to return to the gym is vital, says James Anderson
HCM Magazine
Reopening
Craig Blain outlines the challenges and opportunities facing operators who are aiming to appeal to a diverse membership
HCM Magazine
Ask An Expert
Although extensions to the UK government’s rent moratorium have continued so far, when the end comes, it will represent a cliff edge. Unless agreements can be struck with landlords, or the government intervenes, some operators could be liable for a year or more of back rent, which could be catastrophic, as Kath Hudson reports
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Technogym’s Live and On-Demand solution is transformational for its clients
HCM Magazine
HCM People
Before the first lockdown we’d just kicked off an international research project, so we absolutely see Gymbox going global
HCM Magazine
Promotion
Gympass has been busy innovating and forging powerful partnerships. We find out more
HCM Magazine
HCM magazine
The vision is a global brand with over 1,000 stores
HCM magazine
HCM People

Dame Sarah Storey

Active Travel Commissioner, Sheffield City Region
Connected and continuous infrastructure ensure journeys via active modes no longer have to suffer the usual delay and inconvenience
HCM magazine
HCM People

Vern Hill

Founder, Carifit
Our free online membership, Carifit 4 All, was designed to help mothers get back into fitness and is now listed in the Royal College of GP’s Clinical Lifestyle Toolkit
HCM magazine
Get your group fitness offering back on track faster in the face of ongoing restrictions, courtesy of Myzone’s tier-transcending digital experience
HCM magazine
The aggregator market is developing, diversifying and changing in response to market demand. We talk to suppliers and operators about their collaborations
HCM magazine
In addition to championing the health benefits of activity, the sector must now start to emphasise its power to drive the economy if we are to gain the policy support we need
HCM magazine
We’re actively looking at growth opportunities and feel confident we can parachute the Your Space brand into a new club or local authority contract and make a success of it
HCM magazine
New research into Type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 is establishing the risks across different age groups, enabling policymakers to design interventions more effectively
HCM magazine
The health and fitness sector knows the vital role it plays in boosting immunity in the face of COVID-19. Now there’s another opportunity to be an essential service: helping people recover from the virus. Kate Cracknell reports
HCM magazine
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Forget the ‘Netflix effect’ – it’s all about the ‘iFit effect’ to boost member retention
Addiction – a word laden with negativity. But isn’t that exactly what the fitness industry wants? For members to be addicted (in a healthy way) to exercise – not just to increase profits but, most importantly, so they can live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: AskNicely helps empower businesses to improve customer experience and boost NPS
Maintaining a consistent member experience across a growing health and fitness brand can prove challenging.
Video Gallery
CPASE creates unforgettable luxury member experience at new boutique club with Technogym
Technogym
Technogym has equipped Clare Stobart's new boutique health club – CPASE. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Les Mills UK
Committed to creating a fitter planet, Les Mills UK works with clubs and instructors to ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Premier Software Solutions Ltd
Premier Software was founded in 1994 and has proven experience developing business management solutions specifically ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Venueserve Fitness
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
12 Jun 2021
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
13-14 Jun 2021
Online,
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
HID Global
HID Global