Obesity in the UK poses real threat to NHS

Too little is being done to tackle obesity in the UK, and the problem could even pose a serious threat to the future of the NHS in England, a report has warned.

The research, commissioned for the government by the King’s Fund and carried out by former NatWest bank chief Sir Derek Wanless, warned that growing numbers of obese people were placing an increasing burden on limited NHS resources.

And, without action, the NHS in England at least would struggle to become “world class”, he said.

Current predictions of obesity rates – one-third of men and 28% of women are likely to be classed as obese by 2010 – were worse than even the worst projections in Wanless’ 2002 report into the NHS.

“Doctors are only just learning what the effects of obesity are and it does look worse all the time in terms of diabetes, cancer, heart disease. Nobody quite knows how big the bills are going to be but they do look very frightening,” he said.

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