New measures proposed to combat UK obesity

 

A ground-breaking report1 has been published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC) that sets out ten clear recommendations to the Government for tackling the UK's growing obesity problems.

The obesity levels in the UK are amongst the highest in Europe, with around a quarter of all adults and 10-11-year-olds classed as clinically obese, with a body mass index over 30.2

The ten recommendations are wide-ranging and include such proposals as:

  • Tighten laws around the advertising of junk food
  • Applying a 20% tax to sugary drinks
  • Limiting the opportunity for fast food outlets to operate near schools
  • The government to run more weight management services nationwide
  • Raising mandatory nutritional standards in schools.

Obesity is being likened in the report to smoking in the 1970's - we knew it was harmful but public health policy did little about it. In the same way, obesity-related illness is now costing the NHS over £5 billion each year and if effective initiatives and policies aren't put into place now, that figure will continue to rise in the future.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health has confirmed that the report's findings and recommendations are being given serious consideration.

References

1. Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Measuring Up - The Medical Profession's Prescription for the Nation's Obesity Crisis (PDF, 1.4MB). Published online February 2013

2. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (2011): Statistics on obesity, physical activity and diet: England, 2011