36 Million Britons Will be Overweight or Obese by 2025
According to new figures released by the World Obesity Forum, more than 36 million Britons will be overweight or obese by 2025. Research suggests that the number of people carrying excess body fat will continue to grow significantly in the next ten years.
Currently, around 66% of men and 57% of women are overweight or obese. It is estimated that by 2030, this will have risen to 74% of men and 64% of women. Of these, over 4 million people will be severely obese and in need of urgent treatment, placing a huge burden on the NHS. Obesity and diabetes already costs the UK over £5billion each year, and this is likely to rise to £50billion by 2050.
This year, ministers will publish an obesity strategy, which centres on firms being allowed to set their own rules on the sugar, salt and fat content of their products. However, experts are calling for much tougher action, including a sugar tax.
“Common risk factors such as soft drink consumption and sedentary working environments have increased, fast food advertising continues and greater numbers of people live in urban environments without access to green spaces,” says Dr Tim Lobstein, Director of Policy at the World Obesity Forum. “Governments should take a number of actions to help prevent obesity, including tough regulations to protect children from the marketing of unhealthy food, and introducing taxes and subsidies to make healthier food cheaper and unhealthy food more expensive.”
Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum says that food manufacturers should also be made to do their part to tackle the growing obesity problem. “For starters, the food industry should be told to reformulate or be fined. Reformulation means taking out the excessive fat, sugar and salt that renders food less than healthy. But that’s only the beginning.”