Obesity in the United Kingdom is a significant contemporary health concern, with authorities stating that it is one of the leading preventable causes of death. In February 2016, former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described rising rates of childhood obesity as a "national emergency".
Data published as a part of the World Health Organisation (WHO) study in 2018 indicated that 28.1% of adults in the United Kingdom were recognised as clinically obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30. In 2014 62% of adults in England were classified as overweight or obese (a body mass index of 25 or above), compared to 53% 20 years earlier. More than two-thirds of men and almost 6 in 10 women are overweight or obese.
Experts have predicted that by the year 2020 one third of the United Kingdom population could be obese. Rising levels of obesity are a major challenge to public health. There are expected to be 11 million more obese adults in the UK by 2030, accruing up to 668,000 additional cases of diabetes mellitus, 461,000 cases of heart disease and stroke, 130,000 cases of cancer, with associated medical costs set to increase by 1.92.0B per year by 2030. Adult obesity rates have almost quadrupled in the last 25 years.
For children, data from the Health Survey for England (HSE) conducted in 2014 and examining patterns of overweight and obesity among children aged 215, showed that 17% of children were obese and an additional 14% of children were overweight.
Combining three years of data (2012, 2013 and 2014) Public Health England identified Barnsley, South Yorkshire as the local authority with the highest incidence of adult obesity (BMI greater than 30) with 35.1%. Data from the same study revealed that Doncaster, South Yorkshire was the local authority with the highest overall excess weight with 74.8% of adults (16 years and over) with a BMI greater than 25. In previous Public Health England studies based on 2012 data, Tamworth in Staffordshire had been identified as the fattest town in England with an obesity rate of 30.7%.
Causes cited for the growing rates of obesity in the United Kingdom are multiple and the degree of influence of any one factor is often a source of debate. At an individual level, a combination of excessive food energy intake and a lack of physical activity is thought to explain most cases of obesity. Reduced levels of physical activity due to increased use of private cars, desk bound employment, a decline in home cooking skills and the ready availability of processed foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fats, are variously cited as contributing factors.
Media attention given to celebrity British chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, Marco Pierre White and many others with television shows and books encouraging home produced meals may have had a limited short term impact on the growth of fast food chains such as McDonald's and Burger King. Other fast food outlets, high street bakeries, and chain coffee shops offering hot drinks with sugar levels over three times the daily recommended limit have nonetheless continued to rapidly expand. A 2015 University of Cambridge study reported that the total number of takeaway restaurants including fried chicken, fish and chips, pizza, kebab, Indian and Chinese takeaway shops has risen by 45% over the preceding 18 years. Similarly, popcorn, although a healthy snack by itself, becomes a high calorie snack once topped with butter and various other flavourings offered by theatres. For example, a large sweet popcorn at Cineworld has 1,180 calories. Popularity for the microwavable snack has increased dramatically over the 5 years to 2016, with total sales increasing by 169%.
Professor Jimmy Bell, an obesity specialist at Imperial College London, has stated that contrary to popular belief, the people of the United Kingdom have not become greedier or less active in recent years. One thing that has changed is the food that they eat, and, more specifically, the sheer amount of sugar they ingest. "We're being bombarded every day by the food industry to consume more and more food. It's a war between our bodies and the demands our body makes, and the accessibility that modern society gives us with food."
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, as well as some forms of cancer. In the United Kingdom, obesity and a BMI of 30 to 35 has been found to reduce life expectancy by an average of three years, while a BMI of over 40 reduced longevity by eight to 10 years.
According to a report published by the Commons Health Select Committee in November 2015, treating obesity related medical conditions costs the National Health Service (NHS) 5 billion a year and has a wider cost to the economy of 27 billion. A study published by two McKinsey researchers in the same year estimated costs to the United Kingdom economy of 6 billion ($9.6 billion) annually in direct medical costs of conditions related to being overweight or obese and a further 10 billion in costs on diabetes treatment. The cost of obesity and diabetes treatment in the NHS is equivalent to the United Kingdom's combined budget for the police and fire services, law courts, and prisons; 40 percent of total spending on education; and about 35 percent of the country's defense budget.
British sperm quality has been negatively affected by obesity.
Obese people often have to be moved by firefighters, as they are beyond the capacity of the ambulance service. From January 2013 to May 2015, 5,565 firefighters attended 1,866 "bariatric rescues" in the UK. Each call costs around 400. The National Health Service has only a limited capacity for scanning obese people, meaning that obese patients often have to be sent to distant hospitals to be scanned. Hospitals in Scotland installed 41 oversized mortuary fridges between 2013 and 2018 to cope with larger corpses.
Various groups including government, food and health care professionals have made attempts to highlight and address the causes and growing problem of obesity in the United Kingdom.
In 2005, British chef Jamie Oliver began a campaign to reduce unhealthy food choices in British schools and to get children more enthused about eating lower calorie nutritious food instead. Oliver's efforts to bring radical change to the school meals system, chronicled in the series Jamie's School Dinners, challenged the junk-food culture by showing schools they could serve healthy, cost-efficient meals that children enjoyed eating. The British Government and Prime Minister Tony Blair promised to take steps to improve school dinners shortly after the programme aired. The programme prompted 271,677 people to sign an online petition on the Feed Me Better website, which was delivered to 10 Downing Street on 30 March 2005. As a result, the government added an extra 280 million ($316m USD) to help with the school meals plan. Currently fried foods are only allowed to be served twice a week and soft drinks are no longer available. However, there are no limits on the amount of sugar that can be legally consumed in the School Food Standards. The Department for Education and Skills created the, now defunct, School Food Trust, a 60 million initiative to provide support and advice to school administrators to improve the standard of school meals. Sugarwise found that some children have been exceeding the recommended sugar limits at schools and in June 2019 introduced a certification scheme for school catering.
In 2013 220,000 doctors in the United Kingdom united to form what they call a 'prescription' for the UK's obesity epidemic. The report presented an action plan for future campaigning activity, setting out 10 recommendations for healthcare professionals, local and national government, industry and schools which it believes will help tackle the nation's obesity crisis.
Action on Sugar, a registered UK charity and lobby group, was also formed in 2014 by a group of medical specialists concerned about sugar and its impact on health. Research by the group has highlighted the amount of added sugar contained in both processed food as well as drinks sold by national retailers such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee. Despite this, the proposed sugar tax was squarely aimed at high-sugar drinks, particularly fizzy drinks, which are popular among teenagers. Pure fruit juices and milk-based drinks were excluded and the smallest producers had an exemption from the scheme.
In October 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters that his government might consider a Fat tax as part of the solution to the United Kingdom's obesity problem. A Public Health Responsibility Deal was subsequently announced in 2012 with voluntary pledges from the food industry and local business to promote healthy eating and physical activity. The Public Health Responsibility Deal has been hailed by members of the UK's Food and Drink Federation and the Department of Health, but research published in 2015 by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine questioned the effectiveness of the voluntary agreement. Policy based initiatives to improve diet, such as food pricing strategies, restrictions on marketing and the reduction of sugar intake, do not form a part of the pledges agreed by the food industry under the terms of the Public Health Responsibility Deal.
The government made efforts to use the London 2012 Summer Olympics to help tackle obesity and inspire people into a healthy active lifestyle. Health Secretary Alan Johnson set up Olympic themed Roadshows and mass participation events such as city runs. A 30 million grant was also issued to build cycle paths, playgrounds and encourage children to cut out snacks.
As a part of the London 2012 legacy, Prime Minister David Cameron also announced an annual 150 million ($227-USD) boost for school sport. The funding is "ring-fenced", meaning it can only be spent on sports activities such as after school clubs, coaching and dedicated sports programmes. Prompting criticism about mixed messaging, Official Sponsors of the 2012 London Olympics included McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Cadbury.
In the 2016 United Kingdom budget, the British Government announced the introduction of a sugar tax on the soft drinks industry, which came into effect in April 2018. Beverage manufactures are taxed according to the volume of sugar sweetened beverages they produce or import. The measure will generate an estimated 520 million a year in additional tax revenue to be spent on doubling existing funding for sport in UK primary schools.
In contrast with the United States, overweight and obese individuals in the United Kingdom are more likely to be found in urban settings. Statistics highlight that lower income areas of London exhibit higher rates of childhood obesity compared with other parts of the UK. Data published in 2013 by London's Poverty Profile found disparities in childhood obesity rates between London and the rest of England, with 23% of children in London at the age of 10 to 11 being obese, higher than the English average. According to research data from the Health Survey for England, the proportion of children classified as overweight and obese was inverselyrelated to household income.
For England alone, Public Health England published data in May 2017 indicating that 63.8% of adults in England have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or over with the most overweight region being the North East, where 68% of people are overweight, followed by the West Midlands at 65.7%.
According to the Global Burden of Disease Study published in 2013, the United Kingdom had proportionately more obese and overweight adults than anywhere in western Europe with the exception of Iceland and Malta. Using data from 1980 to 2013, in the UK 66.6% of men and 52.7% of women were found to be either overweight or obese. The figures for Malta were 74.0% of men and 57.8% of women and for Iceland were 73.6% of men and 60.9% of women respectively.
The UK had the fifth highest rate of obesity in Europe in 2015. 24.9% of the adult population had a body mass index of 30 or more. In 2016 according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development nearly 27% of adults in the United Kingdom were obese, the highest proportion in Western Europe and a 92% increase since 1996.
Read more from the original source:
Obesity in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia
- Isotope Tool to Help Fight Childhood Obesity Now in Use in Southern and Eastern Europe - International Atomic Energy Agency - February 19th, 2020
- Lifestyle Intervention via Smartphone App Effective for Pregnant Women With Obesity - Endocrinology Advisor - February 19th, 2020
- This couple lost hundreds of pounds with the help of an obesity medicine specialist - WFAA.com - February 19th, 2020
- In soda tax fight, experts hear echoes of tobacco battles - Harvard Gazette - February 19th, 2020
- What Is The Relation Between Obesity And Depression? Know How To Reduce Your Risk - NDTV News - February 19th, 2020
- Poultry meat not cause of obesity - The News International - February 19th, 2020
- Scientists think food textures may help solve obesity problems - Quartz - February 15th, 2020
- YouTube influencer mobbed for speaking the truth about morbid obesity - The Post Millennial - February 15th, 2020
- Divorced, separated or widowed men are at highest risk of heart attack - The Standard - February 15th, 2020
- Obesity Treatment Expected to Expand at a Steady CAGR through 2016 2024 - Redhill Local Councillors - February 15th, 2020
- Costs of Obesity in Workplace Highest for Government Workers - Claims Journal - February 15th, 2020
- Study says combining strength training and aerobics more beneficial than doing only one or the other - MinnPost - February 15th, 2020
- Targeting the 'clock gene' in obesity to slow triple-negative breast cancer - FierceBiotech - February 15th, 2020
- 5@5: Half of US adults to be obese by 2030 | Kind Snacks expands - New Hope Network - February 15th, 2020
- Obesity As A Disability In The Ninth Circuit - Mondaq News Alerts - February 15th, 2020
- How ultra-processed food took over your shopping basket - The Guardian - February 15th, 2020
- Dont eat after 6pm it increases your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes - The Sun - February 15th, 2020
- Divorced men are prone to obesity and hypertension - Standard Digital - February 15th, 2020
- Excess weight alters results of blood tests in kids and teens - Science News for Students - February 15th, 2020
- World Bank report: 66 pct of Moroccan women are obese, figures for other countries revealed - Devdiscourse - February 15th, 2020
- Unilever will stop advertising ice cream to kids over obesity concerns - CNBC - February 13th, 2020
- Study Finds Leading Cause Of Childhood Obesity Witches Fattening Up Children To Be Eaten - The Onion - February 13th, 2020
- Inflammation And Obesity: Can Marijuana Help Break The Cycle? - Benzinga - February 13th, 2020
- Combining Aerobics and Weights Tied to Optimal Weight Control - The New York Times - February 13th, 2020
- Morbid Obesity Protective Against Mortality During Anticoagulation Therapy in VTE - Endocrinology Advisor - February 13th, 2020
- Obesity May Up Odds of Anti-TNF Therapy Failure in Ulcerative Colitis - Monthly Prescribing Reference - February 13th, 2020
- Kids of obese women have higher autism rates, Israeli study finds - Haaretz - February 13th, 2020
- Can Cannabis Help Break The Cycle Of Inflammation And Obesity? - Green Entrepreneur - February 13th, 2020
- Daily Mirror incorrectly reports the results of statins and blood pressure drugs study. - Full Fact - February 13th, 2020
- Obesity will increase the danger of those 16 forms of most cancers - Sahiwal Tv - February 13th, 2020
- Girls are starting puberty one year earlier than in 1970s and obesity could be to blame, study finds - The Independent - February 13th, 2020
- Inflammation & Obesity: Can Cannabis Help Break The Cycle? - The Fresh Toast - February 8th, 2020
- Business of Healthcare: Rising Obesity Rates - KWBU - February 8th, 2020
- Choosing Life; Changing the way we see obesity - FirstCoastNews.com WTLV-WJXX - February 8th, 2020
- Drugging the Microbiome To Treat Obesity - Technology Networks - February 8th, 2020
- Letter to the Editor: Bipartisan support shows importance of tackling states obesity issue - The Times - February 8th, 2020
- G-1 compound could be used to fight obesity and diabetes - Drug Target Review - February 8th, 2020
- Eat Fresh and Free Program adds location to its distribution - WJCL News - February 8th, 2020
- Being raised by grandparents may increase risk for childhood obesity | The Source - Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom - February 7th, 2020
- How Data Science Is Being Used To Tackle Childhood Obesity - Forbes - February 7th, 2020
- Weight-loss surgery tied to lowered risk of colorectal cancer - WTVB News - February 7th, 2020
- $3.8M grant to fight childhood obesity in Michigan - WSYM-TV - February 7th, 2020
- The Incidence of Hypertension, Overweight, and Obesity and Relationship With Cardiovascular Events Among Middle-Aged Chinese: 6 Years Follow-Up... - February 7th, 2020
- Dramatic Results for Child Obesity and Wellness - PRNewswire - February 7th, 2020
- More than 30% of teenagers in Costa Rica are overweight or obese: Ministry of Health - The Tico Times - February 7th, 2020
- The Obesity Society Marks American Heart Month in February - The Ritz Herald - February 7th, 2020
- Obesity and Pain Care: Multifaceted Considerations for Treatment - PracticalPainManagement.com - February 4th, 2020
- When it comes to milk you should go full-fat, especially with kids - CNN - February 4th, 2020
- Groundbreaking Book Offers New Program to Halt and Reverse Overeating and Obesity - Press Release - Digital Journal - February 4th, 2020
- Bariatric interventions in obesity treatment and prevention in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. -... - February 4th, 2020
- Endothelial Function in Obese Patients Treated with Bariatric Surgery | DMSO - Dove Medical Press - February 4th, 2020
- New Recommendation to Start Colorectal Cancer Screenings at Age 45 - Healthline - February 4th, 2020
- Weekend eating linked to higher BMI - Medical News Today - February 4th, 2020
- Top 10 least physically active US cities - Fox Business - February 4th, 2020
- 'Sheffield is sweet enough' - Adults and children urged to cut down on sugar in bid to tackle obesity and tooth decay - The Star - February 4th, 2020
- Cardiorespiratory function and VO kinetics after sleeve gastrectomy: a follow-up analysis. - Physician's Weekly - February 4th, 2020
- LETTERS: Junk food and obesity; Jungle conditions persist in industry - Monitor - February 1st, 2020
- 'Extremely obese' owl released back into the wild after being too fat to fly - NBC News - February 1st, 2020
- Obesity, second to smoking as the most preventable cause of US deaths, needs new approaches - The Conversation US - February 1st, 2020
- Patients with severe obesity want treatments that offer access to psychological services - study - Irish Examiner - February 1st, 2020
- Can Caffeine Offset the Effects of a Bad Diet? - Labmate Online - February 1st, 2020
- How healthy is your state? These are the 20 states that rank as the healthiest in the US - USA TODAY - February 1st, 2020
- Neuron Found In Mice Could Have Implications For Effective Diet Drugs - Science Times - February 1st, 2020
- Increased Diabetes Risk Due to Age at Onset of Obesity and Cumulative Exposure - Pharmacy Times - January 30th, 2020
- Gut Microbiome Is Less Diverse in Teens With Obesity and PCOS - Medscape - January 30th, 2020
- Weight Loss Surgery Improves Breathing Issues in Obese Patients - Imaging Technology News - January 30th, 2020
- Effects of Obesity on Skin - Dermatology Advisor - January 30th, 2020
- Weight Training Plus Aerobics Is Best to Ward Off Obesity - Medscape - January 30th, 2020
- Genetics and lifestyle can be obesity risks - Coshocton Tribune - January 30th, 2020
- Surgeon to give talk on obesity, weight loss, bariatric surgery - My Central Jersey - January 30th, 2020
- Can You 'Catch' Cancer or Obesity from Other People? - Science Times - January 30th, 2020
- Lizzo, Body-Shaming, And The Obesity Crisis - Black Enterprise - January 30th, 2020
- Photo Credit: The Wild Animal Sanctuary. Obese, disfigured bear found in concrete enclosure recovering in Colorado - OutThere Colorado - January 30th, 2020
- When this community took on the obesity epidemic, it came up with 400 solutions - ABC News - January 30th, 2020
- Phoenix family helps another obese beagle go on doggie diet - AZFamily - January 30th, 2020
- Obesity becoming leading cause of premature deaths in Pakistan - The News International - January 30th, 2020
- States With the Lowest (and Highest) Cancer Rates - 24/7 Wall St. - January 30th, 2020
- News Oklahoma Ranks in the Top 5 of Most Obese States - Bartlesville Radio - January 21st, 2020
- Heart health: Are women getting incorrect treatment? - Medical News Today - January 21st, 2020
- Scientists host symposium on link between lifestyle and cancer risk - GW Hatchet - January 21st, 2020