Wednesday, 23 May 2007

England to have 13m obese by 2010

More than 12m adults and one million children will be obese by 2010 if no action is taken, a report by the Department of Health is predicting.
The Health Survey for England also warns 19% of boys and 22% of girls aged two to 15 will be obese.
The figures would mean the government would fail to meet its target to halt the rise in childhood obesity.

The report warns that, based on current trends, 33% of men and 28% of women will be obese by 2010.
The government says it is the "most accurate estimate so far" of future obesity rates.
The data is published just days after a "minister for fitness" was appointed.

Caroline Flint will be working across all government departments to develop a new fitness strategy for England.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "With children heading back to school in September, these statistics should give parents food for thought on how to make their kids' lifestyles healthier.
"We are intervening and helping to make a difference, but we want today's figures to act as a stark reminder of the problem we and our children will face if we don't act now and start making healthier lifestyle choices."

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The government's got a responsibility to make it easier for people to make healthy choices for themselves.

"But at the end of the day, it's up to each of us to decide what we eat, what we drink, how much exercise we take and how we bring our children up."

Eat regular, balanced meals
Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
Avoid foods that are very high in sugar and/or fat
Eat less than 6g of salt/day
If you drink alcohol, drink it in moderation
For adults: 30 minutes moderate activity five times a week
For children: an hour a day of moderate activity

Dr Susan Jebb, Medical Research Council nutritionist, said the government's bid to halt the rise in childhood obesity by the end of the decade had always been an "unrealistic target" because of the length of time it took to address the issue.

She said it could take many decades to reverse the trend.

"People are not thin one day and fat the next, or vice versa."

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