Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that tackling diabetes and obesity is a priority for the new Conservative Government.
Hunt, speaking at the King’s Fund’s fifth annual leadership and management summit, said that there would be a “big new public health agenda around obesity and diabetes.”
By 2030, the NHS estimates that 4.6 million people in England will have diabetes, with 90 per cent of those being affected by type 2 diabetes. In 2010, there were approximately 3.1 million people aged 16 and over with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes.
This predicted rise illustrates the necessity for prioritising diabetes as a major health concer, while obesity, a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, costs the NHS £5 billion annually.
In England, nearly two-thirds of adults are classed as overweight or obese, which increases an individual’s risk of other health conditions, such as stroke, heart disease and cancer.
“I think it is a great scandal that one in five children leave primary school clinically obese and it is something that we cannot say that we accept. We absolutely need to do something about that,” said Hunt.
Hunt aims to focus on empowering general practise, which is “one of the most demoralised parts of the NHS at the moment”. He hopes to achieve this by reducing burnout, improving the capacity of general practice and increasing the numbers of GPs.
Hunt added a number of NHS services remain under “absolutely huge pressures” to make efficiencies and that this needs to be addressed.

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