Families Who Reduce Calorie Intake Set To Be Rewarded In New Government Obesity Scheme
Boris Johnson is set to launch a new government scheme that will reward families who successfully reduce their calorie intake in an effort to tackle obesity in Britain.
The pilot scheme, which is reported to begin in January, will monitor family supermarket spending and offer rewards for those who buy more fruits and vegetables, reduce their overall calorie intake and increase their exercise by taking part in organised events or walking to school.
Rewards will come in the form of ‘loyalty points’, which can be accumulated on a new app and exchanged for incentives such as discounts and free tickets.
Details of the project, in documents cited by The Telegraph, are being studied by a number of companies, charities and other organisations who have been asked to bid to take part.
It forms part of Johnson’s determination to tackle growing levels of obesity, with the PM bringing in Sir Keith Mills, who helped run the London Olympics, to lead the push.
A Whitehall source cited by The Telegraph said there is a ‘whole team in Downing Street’ working on the project, adding: ‘The Prime Minister thinks that we simply cannot go on as before and that we must now tackle it head on.’
They continued: ‘He has been on a very rigorous diet and exercise programme and it is likely he will play a leading role in fronting this whole campaign.’
When the campaign kicks off in January, it will likely be in the form of an app that allows people to scan in their weekly shop and track their activity levels, with pilot schemes examining the best ways to encourage families to make changes to their lifestyles.
However, officials are reportedly considering going further by offering rewards linked to compliance with NHS checks, such as undergoing a smear, mammogram or health MOT.
News of the scheme comes after Lord Stevens, the outgoing head of the NHS, warned on Friday, July 23, that the health service would struggle to cope in future if more effort is not made in tackling the obesity crisis.
The UK has one of the worst records for obesity in Western Europe, with obesity-related illnesses costing the NHS £6 billion a year. Ministers last year said the NHS could save £100 million if every overweight person lost 5lbs.
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