Article

Weekly diabetes parliamentary round-up

 Our weekly diabetes parliamentary round-up is below. 


 

House of Commons Questions

Diabetes: Health Education – DH – Keith Vaz

Fri, 15 January 2016 | House of Commons – Written Answer
CONTENTS

Asked by Keith Vaz (Leicester East) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how much funding was allocated to raising awareness of diabetes by Public Health England in each of the last three years.

Answered by:
Jane Ellison
Answered on: 15 January 2016

There is no specific budget for diabetes awareness marketing within Public Health England.

However, Change4Life is Public Health England’s (PHE) social marketing programme which aims to inspire families with children aged five to 11 to eat well and move more in order to lower the risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart disease. More than 2.7 million people have engaged with the campaign.

Table: Costs for the delivery of the Change4Life campaign

Year Cost
2012/13 £8,933,000
2013/14 £12,582,000
2014/15 £10,041,000

Note: These costs are total campaign costs and only exclude staffing costs.

PHE is also developing an integrated social marketing campaign to engage adults in making changes to improve their own health. The programme will encourage people to make a number of lifestyle changes including taking up more exercise, improving diet, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.


Fertility: Males – DH – Jim Shannon

Thu, 14 January 2016 | House of Commons – Written Answer

CONTENTS

Asked by Jim Shannon (Strangford) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what research his Department has assessed or commissioned on potential links between male infertility and diabetes or heart disease.

Answered by:
George Freeman
Answered on: 14 January 2016

The Department has not commissioned nor assessed specific research on this topic.


Diabetes – DH – Jim Shannon

Wed, 13 January 2016 | House of Commons – Written Answer

CONTENTS

Asked by Jim Shannon (Strangford) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to reduce fat levels in food to address levels of diabetes.

Answered by:
Jane Ellison
Answered on: 13 January 2016

Measures by industry to reduce calories, including from fat, are important components in any approach to reduce obesity. Some parts of industry have already taken a range of actions to help people eat a healthier diet, but the challenge to make further substantial progress remains.

Building on the National Diabetes Prevention Programme, the Department is developing plans to improve the outcomes for those with and at risk of Type 2 diabetes. We will announce these in due course.


 

Department of Health – DH – James Berry

Tue, 5 January 2016 | House of Commons – Written Answer
CONTENTS

Asked by James Berry (Kingston and Surbiton) To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will commission a review of portion sizes to inform the food industry and consumers about what constitutes a healthy portion.

Answered by:
Jane Ellison
Answered on: 05 January 2016

Public Health England’s recent report, Sugar Reduction: The evidence for action, highlights that portion sizes have been increasing over time and that this results in more calories being consumed. We have a number of tools to help inform what constitutes a healthy portion size, for example the Front of Pack nutrition labelling scheme, the eatwell plate and the Change4Life programme.

Warman, M – Childhood obesity

Tue, 5 January 2016 | House of Commons – Oral Question
CONTENTS

T7. [902889] Matt Warman (Boston and Skegness) (Con): In Boston in my constituency, as many as one in four children are classified as obese. Will the Minister reassure me that in the forthcoming obesity strategy, the Government will acknowledge that they are allowing families and, indeed, children the opportunity to take the control of their own lifestyles that will fix this problem, rather than seeking to do it for them?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Jane Ellison): My hon. Friend is right that there is a really important role for families. More than anything,the Government want to make the healthy choice the easy choice for families. However, young children are not in control of the whole of the food environment around them, as I am sure he would acknowledge. The Government’s forthcoming strategy is focused on children. Obesity is a complex issue and, frankly, everyone needs to play their part—the Government, local government, health professionals, industry and families.


 

House of Lords

Lords Oral Question – Children: Obesity

Tue, 12 January 2016 | House of Lords – Oral Question

CONTENTS

Children: Obesity

Asked by
Baroness Benjamin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that children, especially girls, grow up fit and healthy, in the light of the recent report on the dangers of obesity in women in adult life.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Prior of Brampton) (Con):

My Lords, tackling obesity and creating a fit and healthy society, particularly in girls and boys, is one of our major priorities. As we have previously said, we will be publishing our comprehensive childhood obesity strategy in the new year, and we will be doing so shortly.
Baroness Benjamin (LD):

I thank the Minister for that Answer. As he said, childhood obesity has become the biggest public health challenge in the UK, with nearly a third of our 10 year-olds overweight. High sugar consumption means tooth decay and is the most common cause of hospital admissions among five to nine year-olds. Half of seven year-olds have less than an hour of daily exercise, and we all know that obesity and inactivity lead to major adult health problems. Shockingly, 29% of UK children are overweight as mothers risk having overweight children. What are the Government doing to address the educational and environmental factors that are causing this obesity crisis? Will they start by urgently introducing a mandatory sugar reduction target applicable to all firms in the food and drink industry?
Lord Prior of Brampton:

My Lords, we all recognise, as does the Prime Minister, that obesity is a scourge in this country that affects many thousands of young people. Some 2.1 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, so it is a huge global problem that requires a comprehensive strategic response. I hope that our obesity strategy will be announced in the very near future.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab):

My Lords, in developing this strategy, is his department talking to the Department for Education? He will understand that this is a particular issue at primary school level. There is evidence that the incessant determination of the Government to test primary school children at every age at every moment is squeezing the curriculum of playtime and physical activity. I hope that his department will talk to the Department for Education to turn this around.
Lord Prior of Brampton:

My Lords, we have got to have a collective response to the obesity problem across many government departments, as the all-party parliamentary group made clear in its paper. Education is a critical part of that. The noble Lord will know that in the spending review the Government committed to continue the PE and sports premium in primary schools because we recognise that physical exercise and playtime at all levels in schools, but particularly in the early years, are vitally important.
Baroness Heyhoe Flint (Con):

My Lords, I recommend to my noble friend that sport may be the panacea for many of the problems mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin. A new strategy for sport which targets young primary school children has just been issued, but does my noble friend agree that this dreadful problem needs a cross-departmental approach involving health, environment and transport, including cycling and walking? We should not spread the butter too thin as far is sport is concerned—or perhaps I should say the low-fat spread in this instance.
Lord Prior of Brampton:

My Lords, my noble friend is right that we have to involve all departments. For example, she mentioned the environment. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that urban and educational environments can be designed so that children spend more time walking. The development of cycleways in London is another example of how we can design our environment to improve the level of physical exercise that we take.
Baroness Walmsley (LD):

My Lords—
Baroness Finlay of Llandaff (CB):

Can the Minister outline what is being done specifically in relation to women in pregnancy, given that excessive weight gained in pregnancy, which is often linked to the phrase “eating for two”, is very difficult to lose afterwards, particularly if women do not breastfeed? Moreover, postnatal depression can itself be a cause of excessive eating after delivery of the baby, causing the maintenance or even aggravation of obesity. That requires specific services to target these women.
Lord Prior of Brampton:

The noble Baroness will know that the report of the Chief Medical Officer which came out two or three weeks ago laid particular stress on the importance of women who are pregnant because of the impact of obesity not just on themselves but on their children as well. Advice is available through NHS Choices, Start4Life and Healthy Start; we have various schemes that are focused on pregnant women. I am sure that we can do more, and perhaps when the government strategy on obesity is announced in the near future, it will address that issue as well.
Baroness Walmsley:

My Lords—
Lord Winston (Lab):

My Lords, given that homo sapiens is a species that is programmed to eat carbohydrate and fat, what estimate have the Government made of how much childhood obesity is due to epigenetic factors rather than simply eating sugar and carbohydrate later on in life? Might this not be programming earlier in the generation perhaps as the result of previous generations’ environment? This is an essential point in understanding obesity.
Lord Prior of Brampton:

The noble Lord makes an interesting point to which I cannot give an answer from the Dispatch Box. It is clear that epigenetic factors are important. It is not just about behaviour: rather, it is also the genes that we have inherited from our forebears and the fact that we have entirely different nutrition and an entirely different way of life today from that of 70,000 years ago. Would it be all right if I write to the noble Lord and explain that more fully?


 

Sugar – DH – Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe

Mon, 4 January 2016 | House of Lords – Written Answer

CONTENTS

Asked by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Asked by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Asked on: 17 December 2015 Department of Health Sugar Lords HL4694 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether there is a growing health problem at all ages connected to excess consumption of sugar, and if they consider that there is such a problem, what new measures they will take to reverse the trend.

Lord Prior of Brampton Answered on: 04 January 2016

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition published its report Carbohydrates and Health in July 2015, which found that consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain. It recommended that no more than 5% of energy in our diet should be from sugar. We are currently consuming over double the recommended limit for sugar; with children and teenagers consuming around three times the recommended level.

A copy of Carbohydrates and Health is attached and available at:

href=”http://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445503/SACN_Carbohydrates_and_Health.pdf” target=”_blank”>www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445503/SACN_Carbohydrates_and_Health.pdf

Alongside this, we requested that Public Health England (PHE), as an Executive Agency of the Department, to prepare evidence for the Government on reducing sugar consumption. We are currently working very closely with PHE and its evidence is integral to the development of our forthcoming childhood obesity strategy.

A copy of PHE’s report Sugar Reduction: The evidence for action is attached and available at:

href=”http://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/470179/Sugar_reduction_The_evidence_for_action.pdf” target=”_blank”>www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/470179/Sugar_reduction_The_evidence_for_action.pdf

An analysis of the economic burden of a range of risk factors for chronic disease estimated that overweight and obesity cost the National Health Service £5.1 billion per year.

A copy of the analysis The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006-07 NHS costs is attached and available at:

href=”http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/05/11/pubmed.fdr033.full.pdf+html” target=”_blank”>http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/05/11/pubmed.fdr033.full.pdf+html

Economic Burden of Ill Health(PDF Document, 119.17 KB) PHE Sugar Reduction Report(PDF Document, 1.09 MB) SACN Carbohydrates & Health(PDF Document, 2.39 MB) Grouped Questions: HL4705


Obesity – DH – The Marquess of Lothian

Mon, 4 January 2016 | House of Lords – Written Answer

CONTENTS

Asked by The Marquess of Lothian Asked by The Marquess of Lothian Asked on: 17 December 2015 Department of Health Obesity Lords HL4705 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much obesity-related conditions and illnesses cost the NHS annually; and what action they are taking in line with the recommendations of Public Health England to tackle obesity and the excessive consumption of sugar.

Lord Prior of Brampton Answered on: 04 January 2016

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition published its report Carbohydrates and Health in July 2015, which found that consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain. It recommended that no more than 5% of energy in our diet should be from sugar. We are currently consuming over double the recommended limit for sugar; with children and teenagers consuming around three times the recommended level.

A copy of Carbohydrates and Health is attached and available at:

href=”http://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445503/SACN_Carbohydrates_and_Health.pdf” target=”_blank”>www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445503/SACN_Carbohydrates_and_Health.pdf

Alongside this, we requested that Public Health England (PHE), as an Executive Agency of the Department, to prepare evidence for the Government on reducing sugar consumption. We are currently working very closely with PHE and its evidence is integral to the development of our forthcoming childhood obesity strategy.

A copy of PHE’s report Sugar Reduction: The evidence for action is attached and available at:

href=”http://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/470179/Sugar_reduction_The_evidence_for_action.pdf” target=”_blank”>www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/470179/Sugar_reduction_The_evidence_for_action.pdf

An analysis of the economic burden of a range of risk factors for chronic disease estimated that overweight and obesity cost the National Health Service £5.1 billion per year.

A copy of the analysis The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006-07 NHS costs is attached and available at:

href=”http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/05/11/pubmed.fdr033.full.pdf+html” target=”_blank”>http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/05/11/pubmed.fdr033.full.pdf+html

Economic Burden of Ill Health(PDF Document, 119.17 KB) PHE Sugar Reduction Report(PDF Document, 1.09 MB) SACN Carbohydrates & Health(PDF Document, 2.39 MB) Grouped Questions: HL4694


Lords Oral Question – Sugar Tax on Fizzy Drinks

Wed, 13 January 2016 | House of Lords – Oral Question
CONTENTS

Sugar Tax on Fizzy Drinks
Question

Asked by

Lord Clinton-Davis
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to impose a sugar tax on fizzy drinks.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Prior of Brampton) (Con):
My Lords, we will be launching our childhood obesity strategy soon. It will look at everything, including sugar, that contributes to a child becoming overweight and obese. It will also set out what more can be done by all sides.

Lord Clinton-Davis (Lab):
If we had a league of government U-turns, this one would surely head the list. Not so long ago, the Prime Minister said that a sugar tax was not worth while. Now, urged on by experts and MPs of all parties, he says that it is not a bad idea. What should we now do? My view is that we should follow the example of Mexico. Why wait for many months when the evidence is very clear? Why do the Government not act immediately?

Lord Prior of Brampton:
My Lords, I think the Prime Minister’s position is that he will want to think long and hard before imposing a tax that would fall by and large on those least able to afford it. On the other hand, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health recognise that obesity is a scourge in this country, affecting young people in particular, and will want to implement a comprehensive range of measures to tackle it.

Baroness Hollins (CB):
My Lords—

Lord Ribeiro (Con):
My Lords—

Noble Lords:
Cross Benches!

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con):
My Lords, I was just going to say that perhaps the House itself would like to indicate who it would like to ask a question because we are at that point in the cycle when it is not anybody’s turn next. However, I think the House has indicated that it would like to hear from the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins.

Baroness Hollins:
My Lords, what assessment have Her Majesty’s Government made of evidence provided by the BMA—I should declare an interest here as chair of the BMA’s Board of Science—Public Health England and others on the anticipated positive impact of implementing a sugar tax? Does the Minister agree that we need a range of regulatory and educational measures to reduce the intake of added sugars, particularly among children and young people, but also adults with learning disabilities who are vulnerable to some of the same market pressures?

Lord Prior of Brampton:
My Lords, the Government have taken into account a range of evidence from Public Health England, the McKinsey institute, the SACN and others in coming to their strategy. The noble Baroness is absolutely right that the response will need to take into account issues such as reformulation, portion size, availability and a whole range of other issues that affect sugar intake.

Lord Ribeiro:
My Lords, while the sugar tax for fizzy drinks is a regressive tax, the very people it would target stand to benefit from such a tax because, leaving aside obesity, which is a long-term problem, dental caries are a short-term problem. There is no doubt that sugary drinks are causing a massive amount of dental caries, the cost of which falls on the NHS, as these unfortunate children have to have dental extractions which will affect their well-being and quality of life for years to come.

Lord Prior of Brampton:
My Lords, reduction of sugar is a critical part of the Government’s obesity strategy. It has been made clear by the reports of Public Health England, the McKinsey institute and others that there is no silver bullet. It is not just a question of passing a tax and getting the results that you wish to have. If a tax were to come in, it would be part of a whole range of other measures.

Lord Rennard (LD):
My Lords, does the Minister accept that the introduction of a modest sugary drinks tax should be a win-win policy in that, if it works, people would be deterred from consuming those drinks, switch to alternatives and lead healthier lifestyles, and, if it does not work, it would raise money much needed by the NHS to deal with the problems of the obesity and diabetes epidemics?

Lord Prior of Brampton:
My Lords, as I said earlier, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health are thinking long and hard about what should be part of the obesity strategy. I am not sure that the noble Lord is right when he says that a modest tax would have much of an impact; it would have to be a significant tax to have a major impact on the consumption of sugary drinks.

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe (Lab):
My Lords, does the Minister agree that the campaign against tobacco and cigarettes has been particularly effective? It has been applied across all sectors of the economy with no differentiation between any particular sectors. He mentions that, this time round, we have to be concerned about how sugar might impact on particular parts of the community but, surely, we should make our approach similar to what we did with cigarettes and tobacco and we should apply it right across the board so that we all gain from the change.

Lord Prior of Brampton:
My Lords, I think that the noble Lord is right; indeed, the Prime Minister has called this the new smoking. Obesity is as important to public health as smoking has been in the past. We have to build a much stronger case among the public at large before we can start to introduce the full range of tax and other measures that we have had for cigarettes and alcohol.

Baroness Walmsley (LD):
My Lords, has the Minister tried the Sugar Smart app on his mobile phone, which can be found on the Change4Life website? I tried the app this morning—it is very clever; it reads a barcode and tells you how much sugar is in a product. Unfortunately, however, I tried it on five sugary products and it did not have any of them in its database. Has this very good idea been under resourced?

Lord Prior of Brampton:
My Lords, fortunately I, too, tried the Sugar Smart app this morning. Interestingly, 600,000 people have downloaded that app and the PHE Change4Life programme has had considerable success in raising awareness of the amount of sugar that you consume when you buy a product in the supermarket.


Diabetes – DH – Lord Morris of Aberavon

Wed, 6 January 2016 | House of Lords – Written Answer
CONTENTS

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon Asked on: 21 December 2015 Department of Health Diabetes Lords HL4761 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they are giving to recent research by Professor Jeffrey Bluestone and others at the University of California on the immune system of those with type 1 diabetes; and whether funding will be made available to diabetes researchers in the UK to keep pace with such developments.


 

Lord Prior of Brampton Answered on: 06 January 2016

Research relating to immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes is being carried out by researchers at the University of California and at other institutions internationally. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funding research relating to immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes at the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. In addition, the NIHR funds a wide range of other research relating to diabetes.

The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality.


 

Diabetes – DWP – Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Tue, 22 December 2015 | House of Lords – Written Answer

CONTENTS

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno Asked on: 08 December 2015 Department for Work and Pensions Diabetes Lords HL4351 To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether diabetes is defined as a disability, and if so, what assessment they have made of the impact of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on diabetics in the UK.

Lord Freud Answered on: 22 December 2015

Under the Equality Act 2010 a person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Diabetes is a long term health condition and how disabling it is for people will vary depending on, amongst other things, severity and how well it is managed. The Government set out its assessment of the impacts of the policies in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on 20th July. These are available on the Parliament website.


Diabetes: Chiropody – DH – Lord Harrison

Mon, 21 December 2015 | House of Lords – Written Answer
CONTENTS

Asked by Lord Harrison Asked by Lord Harrison Asked on: 15 December 2015 Department of Health Diabetes: Chiropody Lords HL4596 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Prior of Brampton on 26 November (HL3958), what plans they have to ensure that podiatric services are available to diabetics who need them; and what criteria they are recommending that Clinical Commissioning Groups use to differentiate between those diabetics who will continue to require podiatric services and those who will not.


 

Lord Prior of Brampton Answered on: 21 December 2015

Podiatry services are commissioned locally by clinical commissioning groups working with local partners and based on the need of the local population, resources available and evidence based practice. Treatment decisions should always be made by doctors based on a patient’s individual clinical needs.

Preventing diabetes and promoting the best possible care for people with diabetes is a key priority for this Government and is part of the 2016/17 Mandate to NHS England. Building on the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, the Department of Health and NHS England are exploring options for ensuring a sustained focus on improving the management and care of people with diabetes.

The new National Diabetes Foot Care Audit, a module of the National Diabetes Audit, aims to establish the extent to which national guidelines on the management of diabetic foot disease are being met. The audit will provide local teams with the evidence needed to tackle any identified differences in practice which will lead to an overall improvement in management and outcomes for patients. Local and national level results will be available in March 2016. However, we do know that there has been an increase in the proportion of Trusts with multidisciplinary diabetic foot care teams, from around 60% in 2011 to over 70% in 2013.

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