Obesity to become Britain's top 'preventable' killer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: United kingdom, Obesity

European obesity experts, meeting to discuss the growing problem at
a summit in Copenhagen, have warned that obesity will overtake
smoking as Britain's top preventable killer. They have also accused
the government of being too scared of the food and transport
industries to tackle the problem properly, reports BBC Health.

European obesity experts, meeting to discuss the growing problem at a summit in Copenhagen, have warned that obesity will overtake smoking as Britain's top preventable killer, according to a report by BBC Health.

The experts claimed that three-quarters of the UK population could be overweight within the next 10-15 years. They have also accused the government of being too scared of the food and transport industries to tackle the problem properly.

According to the BBC, the UK government has set up a strategy which includes giving schoolchildren a piece of fruit a day, improving school meals and encouraging young people to exercise.

However the former government advisor Professor Philip James, now chairman of the International Obesity Task Force, told the conference that not enough was being done to tackle the problem.

"Officials are pretty terrified around the whole of Europe about how to confront some of these huge vested interests. The fast food and soft drink industries have enormous turnovers, there is enormous vested interests which we need to confront,"​ said James.

"If we don't, the epidemic of childhood obesity is going to rip through Europe so fast - with Britain being in the worst category - that we will have clinics of diabetic children of 13, 14 years of age, where the evidence is pretty clear that they will have major problems of blindness by the time they get into their thirties."

Professor James said the UK government should follow the example of Finland, where there are strict regulations about the types of food that children can bring into school. He also called for curbs on the advertising of food to children.

Obesity costs the British economy £2 billion a year, and kills 30,000 people a year prematurely, according to National Audit Office figures cited by the report.

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