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Obesity epidemic

UK failing to address obesity problem

Predictions that half the population will be obese by 2050 are underestimated

The National Obesity Forum in the UK has warned that the UK authorities are failing to address the scale the of the obesity problem and are underestimating the true scale of the obese catastrophe facing the nation.

“We are now seven years on from the Foresight Report,” said Professor David Haslam, the Forum’s chairman. “Not only is the obesity situation in Britain 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.”

The 2007 Foresight Report concluded that half the population will be obese by 2050, however the National Obesity Forum claim that this scenario does not cover the true extent of the problem.

It says that the 2007 Foresight Report, which also predicted that obesity levels would cost the country nearly £50billion a year by 2050, may have underrated the scale of the emergency.

The Forum calls on health officials to introduce hard-hitting awareness campaigns, similar to those for smoking, to stem the problem and wants family doctors to discuss weight management with their patients.

“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,” he added. “We need more proactive engagement by healthcare professionals on weight management, more support and better signposting to services for people who are already obese and more importance placed on what we drink and how it affects our health. We have seen hard-hitting campaigns against smoking and it is time to back up the work that is being done with a similar approach for obesity.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and well-being at Public Health England, 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 well-being of the public, and children in particular.”

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