Obese people ‘failed’ by government strategy

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Obesity

140,000 children are so obese that if they were adults, they would immediately be eligible for surgery
140,000 children are so obese that if they were adults, they would immediately be eligible for surgery
The government has been slammed for spending huge sums on trying to reduce the weight of people across the population rather than focusing attention where it is needed most - on those who are seriously obese.

Directing resources at the seriously obese would do far more to reduce the £5.1bn that diseases associated with obesity cost the NHS each year, said Paul Gately, professor of exercise and obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University.

“We are not focused on this group at all,”​ said Gately, speaking at a seminar on obesity in London earlier this week organised by the Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum. “There is a lack of clarity about what we are supposed to do.”

Gately argued strongly that “treatment is also as important as prevention” ​in tackling the problem. But it was not being given the attention it deserved, with most resources directed at preventative measures. 


Quite frightening

He pointed out that of 30M children in the UK, 4.5M were overweight and of these, 2.5M were obese. “140,000 of them are so obese that if they were adults, they would immediately be eligible for surgery. There are no services for that whatsoever. That is quite frightening.”

He added: “Of the one-in-three kids that have a problem, we spent £30M ​[between 2005 and 2010] – that is 0.6% of the ​[£5bn] budget. That has to be wrong … We have got 140,000 kids in the UK that are severely obese: we’ve got money to look after 120.”


Obesity levels

At the seminar new research from the National Obesity Observatory was also presented to show that obesity levels among young people as a group – particularly young males – was beginning to show signs of a decline.

“There is some cause for optimism among young people – particularly among young men,”​ said Klim McPherson, a public health epidemiology expert and fellow at New College Oxford. But among the population as a whole, he said the picture was far more mixed, with adults over 40 continuing to get fatter.

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Wake up and smell the coffee!

Posted by Julie Bunt,

I read the three comments attached and thought - stable door and horse bolted! There is a problem now so it's ok to get on the moral high horse and talk about fast food, and incapable parents as if that's going to help! Most of today's problems with over weight kids link directly to both parents having to work and there not being enough time to cook "good wholesome food". People should think about what happens now and not what happened in years gone by when mother stayed at home.

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Why is this the government's responsibility?

Posted by B.Farrell,

People of any age are overweight because their calorie intake exceeds the amount of calories they burn. It is simple arithmetic. Parents who do not understand this concept themselves are not going to be able to do the best for their children. Parents should take responsibility for the results of their own inaction and find out about nutrition. That is pretty easy with all the information available to make sensible choices. Of course, so long as children are allowed to refuse to eat good wholesome food, their predicament is likely to continue.
If the government is expected to act in some way then perhaps home economics (or cookery as it was called in my day) ought to be made a mandatory subject in schools, for both sexes?

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The truth about Food

Posted by Sara Gibbins,

The problem is that we (as adults) have been exposed all our lives to eat the foods that are advertised in the media. It has become normal and socially acceptable to eat these foods that are loaded with fats and sugars. They are marketed in a way that makes us believe that certain foods are healthy when, in fact, they are not.
The government does have a responsibility but sadly that seems to be to the economy, (some would argue) rather than the well-being of our population. I agree with K Matthews. Parents and individuals need to take the responsibility. It's us who decide what we eat, but there are outside influences with which we have to deal. That's why we need the government to help. Solve the source, solve the problem!

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