A report has said that the future obesity epidemic could be worse than predicted because experts didn’t factor in how much larger we are getting as we age. The National Obesity Forum compiled this report and blame junk food companies for confusing the general public about healthy eating. It also says that GPs and ministers are failing to tackle the problem and NHS systems are not ‘fit for purpose’.
Over a quarter of adults are now obese, a number that has risen from just 8% in 1980. In 2007 a government review warned that by 2050 over half of the population would be affected by obesity (costing the economy £50 billion a year). Now however, the forum believes that this is an underestimation and that the government is too focused on the prevention of obesity rather than helping those who are obese to lose weight.
Chairman of the forum, Professor David Haslam, says that levels of obesity have worsened since the 2007 report.
“Not only is the situation 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. We’ve seen hard-hitting campaigns against smoking and it’s time to back up the work that’s already being done with a similar approach for obesity.”
The report urges GPs to offer obese patients advice on diet and exercise every time they make an appointment. It also criticises the government’s ‘Change 4 Life’ campaign for not having enough of an impact.
A spokesman from the department of health says that it is not just a matter for the government however, it is an issue that requires input from the food industry, health professionals and voluntary groups.
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