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The Big Fat Fix
1st November, 2006
Obesity is a problem that is chronic, stigmatised, costly to treat and rarely curable. Why? Because we are looking in the wrong places for a solution. Pat Thomas reportsOpen a newspaper and on any given day you can usually find a story about the growing number of overweight and obese people throughout the UK, and indeed the world. Obesity is now officially an ‘epidemic’. GPs are ‘alarmed’. The Department of Health is ‘concerned’. And dozens of local authorities are gearing up to ‘do something about it’.
The figures are shocking. Globally the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased steadily since 1970. In August of this year, it was reported that the number of overweight people in the world has topped one billion, considerably outnumbering the 800 million who are undernourished.
It’s not just an aesthetic problem. Obesity is a health risk associated with higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. In the UK, 43 per cent of men and 34 per cent of women are overweight and one in four adults, and one in 10 children under 15, are obese. The direct cost to the NHS is £480 million. The indirect costs are estimated to be in
the region of £2.5 billion per year, including costs to the NHS and costs to industry...
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