Government appoints 'minister for fitness'

In collaboration with the Press Association

The prime minister has appointed public health minister Caroline Flint to work across government departments and develop a strategy to increase the fitness of the nation, in what many are calling the creation of a 'minister for fitness'. Ms Flint will report to Patricia Hewitt, secretary of state for health and Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport and Olympics. Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, welcomed the move, highlighting the link between obesity and cancer. "We know that overweight and obese children are most likely to continue carrying too much weight when they become adults and this will substantially increase their cancer risk as they grow older," she said. "Obesity is one of the biggest known preventable causes of cancer for those who don't smoke. Education and support are vital components in tackling the alarming rise in obesity in this country." She added that Cancer Research UK and Weight Concern had recently launched the Ten Top Tips programme to help people lose weight.

Ms Flint said that the government wanted to help people build physical activity into their daily routines and encourage a move away from car journeys towards more active travel.

A new report, due to be published this Friday, will show that if nothing is done obesity prevalence in men will rise from 22 per cent in 2003 to 33 per cent in 2010.

Ten Top Tips