Should the government take a firmer stance on obesity?
It’s Obesity Awareness Week – a campaign that aims to help improve the nation’s health by raising awareness and encouraging people to eat more healthily and be more physically active.
Obesity is now considered a public health crisis – nearly two-thirds of adults in England (that’s 63%) are classed as overweight or obese.
It’s not simply a problem with adults – research shows younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying that way into adulthood.
28% of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese.
In the UK, we spend more each year on the treatment of obesity and diabetes than we do on the police, fire service and judicial system combined.
It costs wider society £27 billion, and to the NHS it represents a £6.1 billion burden treating overweight and obesity related ill-health.
The obesity epidemic isn’t simply a personal problem – it’s the cause of a compound number of factors that include nutritional misinformation, ready access to cheap processed foods and a growing workforce that spends eight hours a day sitting behind a desk.
How to tackle obesity is a complex question. Despite the fact that a huge chunk of society is currently overweight, the messages around obesity can be shaming, damaging and unhelpful.
Many people are now calling on the government to take a firmer stance on obesity to help manage the cost. Either through better educational programs, tougher legislation on sugar, and better support for those who need to lose weight.
Others believe the huge emphasis on obesity is unnecessary – like smoking and drinking, people should be made aware of the risks and free to make their own decisions.
What do you think? Should the government take a firmer stance on obesity? Or is the choice to lose weight personal and one that should be left to the individual?
What are your views?
We'd love to hear your comments
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