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Just one in 10 businesses in the UK have so far pledged their commitment to support a scheme aimed at tackling public health issues such as obesity, according to new research.

The Government launched the Public Health Responsibility Deal in April 2011 to collect pledges of support for introducing initiatives to tackle public health problems. Businesses signing up as partners to the Responsibility Deal make a commitment to playing their part in improving public health. In signing up businesses agree to take action, voluntarily, to support the Responsibility Deal’s ambitions by pledging to take action on alcohol, food, health at work and physical activity.

However a recent study revealed that after two years only 11% of businesses had pledged their support with more than three-quarters (77%) saying they were not even aware of the scheme.

Just over half (52%) of the businesses surveyed said they planned to introduce walk or cycle to work schemes (as promoted in the Public Health Responsibility Deal) in the future. Initiatives aimed at encouraging workers to give up smoking were supported by 33% of businesses surveyed and 20% supported health checks.

One in five businesses said they were not planning to take any action indicating that perhaps the Responsibility Deal is not having the impact it intended so far in its aim to make businesses take a greater responsibility for public health.

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