Last Tuesday I attended a debate on obesity in the UK entitled Fat Britain.

The debate was chaired by broadcaster Vivienne Parry and the expert panel included Susan Jebb from the Medical Research Council, Harald Schmidt from the Nuffield Council of Bioethics and Obesity counsellor Louise Diss.

The discussion was loosely based around the report from the government’s think-tank on obesity called Foresight.

Key Findings from the report were:

  • most adults in the UK are already overweight. Modern living ensures every generation is heavier than the last – `Passive Obesity’.
  • by 2050 60% of men and 40% of women could be clinically obese. Without action, obesity-related diseases will cost an extra £45.5 billion per year.
  • the obesity epidemic cannot be prevented by individual action alone and demands a societal approach.
  • tackling obesity requires far greater change than anything tried so far, and at multiple levels: personal, family, community and national.
  • preventing obesity is a societal challenge, similar to climate change. It requires partnership between government, science, business and civil society.
I have to say I was a pleasantly surprised to hear many things I have been teaching my clients for years, i.e. obesity is a multi-faceted problem not just eating too much and not exercising enough.
I also agree that drastic measures are required to achieve a drastic turnaround. There was much talk around responsibility of obesity. Is it the responsibility of the individual, the government, the NHS, pharmaceutical companies, farmers, or the food manufacturers?
There seemed to be a very understanding and caring audience and many on the same wavelength. So what is solution to the obesity problem? Well it is quite radical. Tune in next time to find out my views…