Every town in England has the opportunity to bid for up to £5m to make their inhabitants more healthy and active, health minister Dawn Primarolo has announced.
As part of a £30m Healthy Communities Challenge Fund, towns will be invited to come up with innovative new ways to improve the health of their inhabitants.
Ideas could include:
* Increasing the number of cycle lanes.
* Walking promotion schemes.
* Providing local healthy food initiatives.
With almost two thirds of adults and a third of children either overweight or obese, "Healthy Towns" are the next step in delivering on the cross-government obesity strategy, Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives, launched in January this year.
Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: "Every area in England can now bid to become a healthy town. I want to see some really innovative ideas which will help tackle our nation's weight problem.
"I hope that local authorities and PCTs will take ownership of the challenge of obesity in their areas and work towards making their communities healthier places for everyone.
"Tackling obesity is the most significant public and personal health challenge facing our society. The core of the problem is simple - we eat too much and we do too little exercise. The solution is more complex. From the nature of the food that we eat to the built environment through to the way our children lead their lives, it is harder to avoid obesity in the modern world."
There will be a two-stage selection process for deciding which areas will become "Healthy Towns". In the first, they will outline their top level plans to be submitted by the 11 July this year. Those who are successful in stage one will then go on to stage two and submit a more detailed proposal and delivery plan by September this year.
This £30m will be invested over three years and will be given to a small number of interested local areas to build on existing work in their communities and test out their ideas on what further action needs to happen to make regular physical activity and healthy food choices easier for people.
In each case the local areas will be expected to match any resources they receive from government.
Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"Yes, I think we should produce more green veg, should be available at cheaper rates, so people can buy more, that is the only way to change the bad habits, means healthy community, will save NHS money, which will be our future investment. Need more gyms etc where people can do excercise. If I get the money I will do the things what I said, in few years we will get
the fruit THE HEALTHY COMMUNITY" – Kamaljot Kaur, Manchester