The UK will end up with major health problems in the future if it does not
tackle the growing problem of obesity, doctors have warned.
The study, Storing Up Problems: the medical case for a slimmer nation, by
the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), has called for a comprehensive national
strategy to reduce obesity, with action being taken at national, local,
community and individual level.
With more than half the UK population either overweight or obese, the report
estimated that at least one-third of adults, one-fifth of boys and one-third of
girls would be obese by 2020.
Heart disease, stroke, joint problems and the type 2 diabetes are direct
effects of obesity and being overweight, it added, costing the NHS at least
£500m a year, and £2bn to the wider economy, according to the National Audit
The report recommended the establishment of a Cabinet-level,
cross-Governmental taskforce, the mounting of a public education campaign, new
standards of food labelling, more health promotion initiatives, better training
for doctors and nurses in managing obesity and more research into the factors
behind the issue.
The report comes as figures from the Government show that more than half the
1.5 million people claiming incapacity benefit in the UK are overweight.