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Over half the nation ‘at risk’ of chronic disease due to obesity

A new NHS report has detailed how more than 56% of adults are at increased, high or very high risk of chronic disease due to their waist circumference and BMI, with 26% of men and 29% of women being reported as obese.

Further to the findings, the Health Survey for England (HSE) revealed that 17% of men and 18% of women had ever had asthma diagnosed, and that as many as 27% of adults reported less than 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week – officially classifying them as “inactive”.

The nation-wide study, which consisted of 8,178 adults and 2,072 children, also found that 10% of men and 5% of women drink alcohol nearly every day, with older age groups more likely to drink regularly.

Caroline Cerny, alliance lead at the Obesity Health Alliance said that the consistently high rate of obesity is “sadly reflective of the environment we live in – one that is flooded with unhealthy food and drinks and relentless marketing to tell us to buy and eat more and more.”

She went on to say that “it doesn’t have to be like this,” as “25 years ago, rates of adult obesity were almost half what they are today. The Government can play a vital role in shaping our food environment to help us all be healthy.”

The sugar tax, or soft drink industry levy, was introduced on 6 April 2018 by the UK Government, as UK Ministers believe that the levy will help to reduce sugar in soft drinks and tackle childhood obesity, and according to HMRC, sugar tax receipts were £153.8 million to year end in October 2018.

Caroline continued: “This is why we need the next Government to urgently bring in new regulations to restrict the marketing of junk food and compel the food industry to make everyday food less sugary and calorific.”

Back in August the Scottish Obesity Alliance called on first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to introduce regulation to restrict price promotions and hopefully help “curb the obesity crisis.” The letter reminded that “whilst the rate of childhood obesity levels has slowed down, it has not stopped or started to decline”, before going on to call the situation a “major public health crisis.”

Also earlier this year, analysis from Cancer Research UK found that excess weight causes more cases of certain cancers than smoking, and that the number of people who are obese now outnumbers those who smoke two to one in the UK.

The data show that excess weight causes around 1,900 more cases of bowel cancer than smoking in the UK each year, while the same “worrying pattern” is seen in cancer in the kidneys (1,400 more cases caused by excess weight than by smoking each year), ovaries (460) and liver (180), the charity warned.