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Obesity rates among adults in the UK have almost quadrupled in the last 25 years, and now around one in four fall into this category. What's more, over 60% of adults are classed as overweight or obese, leaving only 40% of women and 33% of UK men with a healthy BMI.
Experts predict that, by 2050, 60% of adult men, 50% of adult women and 25% of children will be obese. Now a new study has found that nearly 3 in 4 adults will be overweight or obese by 2035. This group would outnumber the 28% who would be classed as being a healthy weight or underweight. The figures seem incredible given that 2035 is now only 19 years away.
Obesity is a problem we are all aware of, and this topic is constantly the focus of media headlines and health campaigns. Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, recently stated that she would 'advocate recognising obesity at the level of a "national risk".' So it seems we really are facing a crisis that we are struggling to avert.
Body positive campaigners may argue that we are looking at this backwards. Yes, people are getting bigger, but if it's happening to all of us, surely obesity with become the new 'normal' weight, and the current 'healthy' BMI will represent being statistically underweight?
This could be true, if it wasn't for obesity having been linked with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and several cancers. Cancer Research UK recently stated that they have noted a 45% rise in the number of cancer cases resulting from excess weight. The charity has joined the call for a 'sugar tax' on soft drinks in an effort to curb this trend.
For some years various groups have spoken up about this emerging problem and the burden obesity will increasingly place on our healthcare services and society. Efforts to encourage people to exercise and take a look at their diets do not seem to be having much success so perhaps it is time to start regulating the amount of sugar and processed food available to us. The sugar tax proposal is gathering speed, and a recent poll revealed that 53% of the public backed the measure as a way to tackle child obesity.
There are also calls from various groups to restrict advertising of junk foods to children, for example not showing adverts until after the watershed.
So despite what some may say, it seems the majority of us are not yet ready to embrace obesity as the 'new normal', preferring instead to take measures to slim down our expanding waistlines and protect our health and that of future generations.