England has witnessed the fastest growth in obesity in Europe

Health Committee urges comprehensive raft of measures to combat the devastating threat to the nation’s health posed by obesity

The House of Commons Health Committee publishes its long-awaited Report on obesity on Thursday 27 May..

Obesity has grown by almost 400% in the last 25 years such that three-quarters of the adult population are now overweight or obese (around 22% are now obese). England has witnessed the fastest growth in obesity in Europe and childhood obesity has tripled in twenty years.

The Report paints a bleak picture of the likely threat that obesity poses, saying: “Should the gloomier scenarios relating to obesity turn out to be true, the sight of amputees will become much more familiar in the streets of Britain. There will be many more blind people. There will be huge demand for kidney dialysis. The positive trends of recent decades in combating heart disease, partly the consequence of the decline in smoking, will be reversed. Indeed, this will be the first generation where children die before their parents as a consequence of childhood obesity.”

Obesity is linked with a wide range of diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, renal failure, osteoarthritis and psychological damage. Only recently has the strong association between obesity and various cancers emerged and obesity is now regarded as the greatest avoidable cause of cancer after tobacco. The Report calculates the cost of overweight and obesity to the nation at up to £7.4 billion per year, a figure which will rapidly rise.

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