Campaign launched to combat rising levels of obesity

 

Surgeons, psychiatrists, paediatricians and GPs launched a campaign today to battle rising levels of obesity, saying current strategies are not working.

The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (AoMRC), the body that represents every doctor in the country, is beginning a three-month evidence-gathering inquiry to look for research and strategies that work in preventing or reducing obesity.

The inquiry will look at action that can be taken by individuals, including diet, exercise and parenting, as well as the impact of advertising, food labelling and sponsorship.

It will also examine clinical interventions, financial measures such as taxation and minimum pricing and education.

The campaign will be chaired by Professor Terence Stephenson, vice-chairman of the AoMRC and president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

He said the campaign would see medical professionals coming together in an unprecedented way.

“Our starting point is the collective desire to ensure the healthcare profession is doing all it can to detect, treat, manage - and ultimately prevent - obesity.

“It is unprecedented that the medical royal colleges and faculties have come together on such a high-profile public health issue. But we've done so because we recognise the huge crisis waiting to happen and believe that current strategies to reduce obesity are failing to have a significant impact.”

He added: “Speaking with one voice we have a more of a chance of preventing generation after generation falling victim to obesity-related illnesses and death.”

A quarter of women (24%) and just over a fifth of men (22%) in the UK are now classed as obese, giving Britain the highest rate of obesity in Europe.

One in three children are overweight or obese by the age of nine.

The campaign will seek the views of healthcare professionals, local authorities, education providers, charities, campaign groups and the public, in the form of written and oral evidence.

It's first report will be published later this year and will offer recommendations for how the medical profession, individuals, organisations and the government can reduce obesity levels.

Professor Sir Neil Douglas, chairman of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, said: “This won't be just another report that sits on the shelf and gathers dust; it will form the bedrock of our ongoing campaigning activity.

“We are absolutely determined to push for whatever changes need to happen to make real progress in tackling - which is why we're casting the net wide to get input from a range of organisations and individuals.

PA

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