One in four British adults is obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, prompting fears that the UK has become the “fat man of Europe”.
The UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, ahead of countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, the 2013 report says.
Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050.
Europe’s obesity league:
- UK: 24.9%
- Ireland: 24.5%
- Spain: 24.1%
- Portugal: 21.6%
- Germany: 21.3%
- Belgium: 19.1%
- Austria: 18.3%
- Italy: 17.2%
- Sweden: 16.6%
- France: 15.6%
The cause of the rapid rise in obesity has been blamed on our modern lifestyles, including our reliance on the car, TVs, computers, desk-bound jobs and high-calorie food.
“The UK is the ‘fat man’ of Europe,” writes Professor Terence Stephenson in Measuring Up, a report on the nation’s obesity crisis by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC).
“It is no exaggeration to say that it is the biggest public health crisis facing the UK today,” he says.
Britain has become an “obese society (PDF, 10Mb)” where being overweight is “normal”. It is a trend three decades in the making which, according to experts, will take several more to reverse.
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