Mark Whitehead 31 March 2017

NHS report warns of ‘rising tide’ of obesity

A rising tide of excess weight and obesity linked to a lack of exercise and poor diet has been highlighted in a new NHS report.

It says more than a fifth of four and five-year-old children in reception classes is now overweight or obese, rising to more than one in three for children in year six.

NHS Digital says obesity has risen from 15% of adults in 1993 to 27% in 2015, while the prevalence of life-threatening 'morbid obesity' has more than tripled since 1993, affecting 2% of men and 4% of women according to the latest figures.

The new analysis follows a warning from local government leaders that weight-related illnesses could ‘bankrupt health and social care’.

NHS Digital’s annual review of obesity in England says only a quarter of adults were eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and 26% took less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week.

Dr Justin Varney, Public Health England’s national lead for adult health and wellbeing, said: 'We need many more adults and children to be more physically active.

'Little and often makes a big difference – just 10 minutes extra walking each day can improve a person’s health and their overall quality of life.'

Earlier this week following a report by MPs calling for more robust action to tackle promotions on the sales of unhealthy food and drink, Linda Thomas of the Local Government Association said: ‘Councils have long-warned that unless we take decisive action, both individually and through targeted initiatives, the potential consequences of obesity on people's health, such as diabetes and heart conditions, could be devastating and will bankrupt health and social care.’

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