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Claim that half overweight by 2050 ‘underestimates obesity problem’

The UK is in danger of surpassing the 'doomsday scenario' portrayed in the 2007 report
  • @kunaldutta

Britain’s obesity crisis is being undermined by predictions that half the British population will be obese by 2050 – a forecast that “underestimates” the scale of the problem, a report warns.

The UK is in danger of surpassing the“doomsday scenario” portrayed in the 2007 report which predicted that half of the nation would be obese by 2050, the National Obesity Forum said.

The forum’s latest report calls on health officials to introduce new awareness campaigns – similar to those for smoking – to try to control the problem.

The organisation also called on family doctors to proactively discuss weight management with patients. GPs should routinely measure children’s height and weight and check adults’ waist circumferences, it said.

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.”

He called for better and more frequent consultation by doctors on weight-management issues as well as “better signposting” to services for those who are already obese.

The report comes just a week after it emerged that weight-loss programmes are being cut in some areas of England despite the growing obesity crisis.

The Royal College of Surgeons said its members have raised concerns that intensive, weight-management services are not being commissioned in some parts of the country.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England (PHE), said: “Obesity 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,”  he added.