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29.04.16

Councils call for ‘urgent action’ in tackling national obesity crisis

Councils have called for an end to delays in tackling obesity as the latest figures show that over half of the population are overweight or obese.

The new statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that in 2014 over a quarter of the population (26%) were obese, compared to 15% in 1993, and 3% were morbidly obese. Overall, 58% of women and 65% of men were overweight or obese, and the UK has the 10th highest obesity level in the world.

Although there had been a very small decrease among reception-age children, with 9% of children shown to be obese and 22% obese or overweight compared to 10% and 23% in 2007, this was lost by Year 6, where 19% of children were obese and 33% were obese or overweight, an increase from 18% and 32%.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, community wellbeing spokesperson for the LGA, said: “These are extremely worrying figures that illustrate the scale of the challenge we face in the fight against obesity. But the problem will only get worse unless we take urgent action.”

“Councils have long been calling for action to tackle obesity, such as clearer labelling of sugar content, calorie counts on menus, and sugar reduction in soft drinks. We cannot delay tackling this issue any longer.”

She said the government must use their childhood obesity strategy, which has been subject to frequent delays, to tackle what she called “one of the major health dangers of the 21st century.”

The figures also showed a relationship between deprivation and obesity. In the most deprived areas, 12% of reception children and 25% of those in Year 6 were obese, compared to 6% and 12% in the least deprived areas.

Although there was no evidence of a relationship between obesity and deprivation for adult men, 33% of women in the most deprived areas were obese, compared to 22% in the least deprived areas.

The north east had the highest rate of adult obesity, at 31%, and London had the lowest, at 21%.

(Image c. Gareth Fuller from PA Wire)

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