The government has announced a new Office for Health Promotion to tackle important public health issues, including obesity and nutrition.
The new Office, which replaces Public Health England, will sit within the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and will “lead national efforts to improve and level up the health of the nation by tackling obesity, improving mental health and promoting physical activity”.
According to the government, around 80% of people’s health outcomes are not related to the healthcare they receive but due to wider preventable risk factors such as diet, smoking, exercise. The new Office will help inform a new cross-government agenda which will look to track these wider determinants of health and implement policies in other departments where appropriate.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “The new Office for Health Promotion will be crucial in tackling the causes, not just the symptoms, of poor health and improving prevention of illnesses and disease.
“Covid-19 has demonstrated the importance of physical health in our ability to tackle such illnesses, and we must continue to help people to lead healthy lives so that we can all better prevent and fight illnesses.”
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock adds: “Ill-health amongst working-age people alone costs the economy around £100 billion a year. By focusing on the prevention of poor health and improving health outcomes, this will reduce the pressures on the NHS, social care, and other public services.”
The Office for Health Promotion will be established by the autumn.