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Obesity: Made in England

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The Director of Public Health Gateshead's Annual Report 2018 reveals the role that today's society plays in weight gain and obesity.

'Obesity: Made in England', is the third annual report by Director, Alice Wiseman. In it she says that the stigma faced by overweight people is significant and media headlines often place the blame firmly at the door of individuals.

However, while individual responsibility plays a part, Alice says humans are constantly being overwhelmed by the effects of an environment that encourages weight gain and obesity.

"An abundance of energy-packed food, clever marketing that disproportionately focuses on the promotion of these foods, reliance on car travel and sedentary lifestyles means that the vast majority of us are predisposed to gaining weight, says Alice. "Given all the external pressures, it is not a surprise that for the majority of people in the UK, body mass index (BMI) is now above that considered to be in the 'healthy' range."

The report explores how changes to society over recent decades have increased our risk of obesity.

Alice is calling for a whole system approach that places greater emphasis on action to address the wider environment and societal issues that contribute to increasing obesity levels. She points to the fact that:

  • it is three times more expensive to get the energy we need from healthy foods than unhealthy foods
  • it is harder to buy health foods in deprived parts of the UK and there is also a higher density of fast food outlets in these areas
  • 1.2% of advertising spend each year goes on vegetables yet 22% is spent on confectionery, cakes, biscuits and ice cream.

Alice said:

"We need to work together to create the conditions for healthy weight. The obesity epidemic is not inevitable. As a society, we have created many of the problems and therefore we are also the people who have the power to solve it."

Councillor Mary Foy, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "The Director of Public Health's Annual Report highlights that obesity, like climate change, is a complex problem but that does not mean it's unsolvable.

"In Gateshead we have a real desire and opportunity to create an environment for change and we are determined to design a borough that allows its residents to thrive by supporting healthy weight and wellbeing. We will work with and for our communities and families to make the healthy choice the easy choice."

The full report 'Obesity: Made in England' is available on our health webpage.

Key facts from the report include:

  • In Gateshead, two thirds of adults (69.4%) have excess weight. This is significantly worse that the England average of 64.8%.
  • One in four adults in Gateshead is obese.
  • In the most deprived areas of Gateshead the proportion of obese adults is almost double that in the least deprived.
  • Over one in five children in Gateshead start school overweight or obese.
  • By Year 6, over one in three children in Gateshead are overweight or obese.
Takeaway laptop
24 January 2019

The Director of Public Health Gateshead's Annual Report 2018 reveals the role that today's society plays in weight gain and obesity.

'Obesity: Made in England', is the third annual report by Director, Alice Wiseman. In it she says that the stigma faced by overweight people is significant and media headlines often place the blame firmly at the door of individuals.

However, while individual responsibility plays a part, Alice says humans are constantly being overwhelmed by the effects of an environment that encourages weight gain and obesity.

"An abundance of energy-packed food, clever marketing that disproportionately focuses on the promotion of these foods, reliance on car travel and sedentary lifestyles means that the vast majority of us are predisposed to gaining weight, says Alice. "Given all the external pressures, it is not a surprise that for the majority of people in the UK, body mass index (BMI) is now above that considered to be in the 'healthy' range."

The report explores how changes to society over recent decades have increased our risk of obesity.

Alice is calling for a whole system approach that places greater emphasis on action to address the wider environment and societal issues that contribute to increasing obesity levels. She points to the fact that:

  • it is three times more expensive to get the energy we need from healthy foods than unhealthy foods
  • it is harder to buy health foods in deprived parts of the UK and there is also a higher density of fast food outlets in these areas
  • 1.2% of advertising spend each year goes on vegetables yet 22% is spent on confectionery, cakes, biscuits and ice cream.

Alice said:

"We need to work together to create the conditions for healthy weight. The obesity epidemic is not inevitable. As a society, we have created many of the problems and therefore we are also the people who have the power to solve it."

Councillor Mary Foy, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "The Director of Public Health's Annual Report highlights that obesity, like climate change, is a complex problem but that does not mean it's unsolvable.

"In Gateshead we have a real desire and opportunity to create an environment for change and we are determined to design a borough that allows its residents to thrive by supporting healthy weight and wellbeing. We will work with and for our communities and families to make the healthy choice the easy choice."

The full report 'Obesity: Made in England' is available on our health webpage.

Key facts from the report include:

  • In Gateshead, two thirds of adults (69.4%) have excess weight. This is significantly worse that the England average of 64.8%.
  • One in four adults in Gateshead is obese.
  • In the most deprived areas of Gateshead the proportion of obese adults is almost double that in the least deprived.
  • Over one in five children in Gateshead start school overweight or obese.
  • By Year 6, over one in three children in Gateshead are overweight or obese.
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