Bath’s Lib-Dem MP, Wera Hobhouse, has secured a commitment from the Prime Minister to work together to ensure that people with eating disorders are consulted in the drafting of the details for the Obesity Strategy.
Acting in her role as Chair of the newly re constituted All Party Parliamentary Group on Eating Disorders, Wera Hobhouse flagged the concerns which have been raised by multiple charities and advocates.
Speaking at Prime Ministers Question Time, she said:
“In the week in which the Prime minister announced the Government’s new strategy on obesity, the eating disorder charity, Beat, experienced a 165% increase in the number of people mentioning obesity when contacting their Support Services.
“I am pleased that Prime Minister is so focussed on obesity – which is a very serious issue in our communities but as the Chair of the APPG on eating disorders many individuals, who have themselves suffered from eating disorders, have approached me to raise concerns about certain aspects of the obesity strategy.
“Will the Prime Minister take these concerns seriously and commit to arrange to a meeting between myself, representatives affected by eating disorders, and the relevant Minister in his health team?”
The Prime Minster responded by affirming that “yes” he would arrange the meeting and that he was “acutely conscious that there are no glib, easy answers in this area of public policy” and he would “happily undertake that the relevant Minister should meet with the honourable lady as fast as possible to understand her concerns”.
Following the exchange Wera Hobhouse said:
“I am pleased that the Prime Minister had agreed to work with me on this serious issue.
“Across the UK there are an estimated 1.25 million people who suffer from eating disorders. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental health conditions and yet funding for research remains consistently low. Eating disorders are poorly understood – even by some GPs – and this creates an environment where incredibly harmful policy proposals, such as calorie counts on menus, can be considered.
“The key thing now is to ensure that people affected by eating disorders are part of the conversation as the Government finalises details for the Obesity Strategy.”