UK & World News

  • 13 January 2014, 9:32

Obesity: Scale Of Problem 'Underestimated'

The true scale of Britain's obesity crisis may have been seriously underestimated, a report has found.

The National Obesity Forum said the UK is in danger of surpassing predictions of a 2007 report which estimated that 50% of the nation would be obese by 2050.

The organisation's latest report calls on health officials to introduce hard-hitting awareness campaigns - similar to those for smoking - to try to curb the problem.

It also called on family doctors to proactively discuss weight management with patients and to check waist circumferences.

The report said: "It is entirely reasonable to conclude that the determinations of the 2007 Foresight Report (i.e. that half the population might be obese by 2050 at an annual cost of nearly 50bn), while shocking at the time, may now underestimate the scale of the problem."

Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: "We're now seven years on from the Foresight Report.

"Not only is the obesity situation in the UK not improving, but the doomsday scenario set out in that report might underestimate the true scale of the problem.

"There needs to be concerted action.

"There is a lot more we can be doing by way of earlier intervention and to encourage members of the public to take sensible steps to help themselves - but this goes hand in hand with government leadership and ensuring responsible food and drink manufacturing and retailing."

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England (PHE), said: "Obesity is an international problem.

"It is a complex issue that requires action at national, local, family and individual level.

"Everyone has a role to play in improving the health and wellbeing of the public, and children in particular.

"PHE are committed to helping to tackle obesity through a range of approaches that support action on the local environment to make eating less and being more physically active easier."

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