The recent Healthy Survey for England shows that currently 26 percent of adults (defined as persons 16 years and above) are obese. In 2014, 58 percent of women and 65 percent of men were overweight or obese, and these figures are rising.
Persons with BMIs (Body Mass Index) of higher than 25 are condisered overweight, and those with BMIs that range between 30 and 34.9 are moderately obese.
A study by Public Health England shows that obesity has now eclipsed smoking as the number one cause of death in the UK. Smoking-related illnesses account for 10.7% of deaths, but those relating to obesity now stand at 10.8%, and according to a Harvard study the amount of smoking-related deaths is decreasing yearly.
The Public Health England report also notes that a whopping 40% of NHS resources are spent on treating diseases and ailments that stem lifestyle factors like obesity, with Simon Stevens, NHS head, saying our "junk food diets" are to blame.
Professor Kevin Fenton, PHE director of Health and Wellbeing, added that “as a nation we are eating far too many fats and far too much sugar.” Trans fats and saturated fats are particularly in the crosshairs, with the former offering no nutritional benefit whatsoever.
In the 2016 UK Budget report, George Osbourne announced the introduction of sugar tax of up to 20% on the soft drinks industry, which is due to come into effect in 2018. The tax is set to target fizzy drinks in particular, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Lucozade, and beverage manufactures will be taxed according to how much sugar their drinks contain. The reports predict that a tax on sugary drinks would prevent 3.7 million people becoming obese in the next decade.
While we've all known for a long time that a poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to health complications, it's always unsettling to see just how profound the effects can be. Despite the current social media trend for downing green juices and doing downward dogs every morning, the study is a harsh reminder that as a nation, our habits are far from healthy.
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