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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 October, 2004, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Patients 'could get fitness MoT'
Child with a burger
Childhood obesity has doubled over 20 years
Every NHS patient is to be offered personal advice on weight loss and fitness, a newspaper has reported.

The Independent on Sunday says it has seen leaked details of the government's upcoming White Paper on public health.

It reports that volunteers will be offered "personal health plans" in an attempt to get people to take more responsibility for their own health.

But some doctors say the people most likely to volunteer are the "worried well", not those who most need advice.

It follows the publication of Derek Wanless's report into public health in February which said everyone in Britain needed to play a part in improving national health.

Unhealthy Britain
One in five adults is obese
One in four men and one in six women drink more alcohol than they should
Most adults do not exercise often enough
Just one in four eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
He believes improving public health could save the NHS billions of pounds - one MPs' report put the annual cost of obesity at 3.5bn.

The Independent on Sunday reports that the White Paper will also include plans to screen children to find out if they are at risk of becoming obese. The number of obese children has doubled over the past 20 years.

Patients who volunteer would be set goals, monitored by their GP. They would also advise on weight loss, fitness and possibly sexual activity.

Emails could be used to monitor progress to reduce pressure on doctors and a new telephone service, Health Direct, would offer advice, the newspaper reported.

But Health Secretary John Reid has said he does not want to just "transpose" the ban on smoking used in the Republic of Ireland and New York.

The White Paper is due to be published on 10 November.

'Too little done to cut obesity'
26 May 04  |  Health
Report urges public health drive
25 Feb 04  |  Health

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