Alarming rise in UK obesity rates

  • Date: 31 May 2022

AN estimated 21 million UK adults (36 per cent) will be obese by 2040, leading to wide-ranging potential health effects including increased cancer risk, according to analysis by Cancer Research UK.

The analysis also found that the number of UK adults who are overweight or obese may reach 42 million people by 2040 (71 per cent of the population) if current trends continue.

The report suggests that increasing obesity is more marked with higher levels of deprivation. Figures from 2019 revealed that 35 per cent of people living in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 22 per cent of people living in the least deprived areas. Obesity is estimated to increase to almost half (46 per cent) among some deprived areas by 2040 compared to 25 per cent among the least deprived.

These projections translate into a relative deprivation gap for obesity prevalence of 58 per cent by 2040 in England.

Cancer Research UK points out that obesity increases the risk of at least 13 different types of cancer. The report follows a recent decision by Government to delay commitment to implement restrictions on junk food marketing and volume-based price promotions in order to help tackle rising obesity.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK said: "These projections should serve as a wake-up call to the Government about the state of our nation’s health. Ministers mustn’t keep kicking the can down the road when it comes to tackling the obesity crisis – delaying measures that will lead to healthier food options.

"I urge them to revisit this decision and take bold action on obesity, the second biggest preventable risk factor for cancer in the UK."

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