Campaign to combat Britain’s ‘single greatest public health threat’ launches
The medical profession has come together to launch a campaign on what it claims is the single greatest public health threat in the UK – rising levels of child and adult obesity.
Health professionals from surgeons and psychiatrists to paediatricians and GPs are joining forces under the umbrella of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (AoMRC) to launch the campaign which begins today with a 3-month evidence-gathering inquiry.
Professor Terence Stephenson, Vice-Chair of the AoMRC and President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is chairing the campaign’s steering group which comprises representatives from all 21 Royal Medical Colleges and Faculties.
The campaign will seek the views of healthcare professionals, local authorities, education providers, charities, campaign groups and the public, in the form of written and oral evidence. It will look specifically for research and experience of actions and strategies that work in preventing or reducing obesity covering 5 key areas:
- Action that can be taken by individuals (e.g. diet, exercise, positive parenting)
- The environment (e.g. advertising; food labelling; sponsorship, the built environment, local authority policies and facilities etc.)
- Clinical interventions (i.e. what are the effective interventions that clinicians can make on preventing and tackling obesity)
- Fiscal measures (taxation, minimum pricing, corporate or personal incentives)
- Education (nurseries, schools, further and higher education and public information)
- A quarter of women (24%) and just over a fifth of men (22%) in the UK are classed as obese (Eurostat)
- The UK now has the highest rate of obesity in Europe with one in three children overweight or obese by Year 6 (aged 9)
- Obesity in children under 11 has risen by over 40% in ten years
- Based on current trends, half of children will be obese or overweight by 2020
- It could be costing the NHS £10 billion a year by 2050.