The Department of Health released statistics today that indicate one in three British adults and one in five children will be obese by the end of the decade, which will greatly increase the number of people who will suffer from diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Experts predict such obesity will also significantly up the price tag for treating weight-related health troubles, which already costs the National Health Service (NHS) 1 billion pounds a year.
In just four years, 22 percent of English girls and 19 percent of boys between two and 15 years old will be obese, with a third of all men becoming obese -- up from the current 4 million men to 7 million by 2010.
"These figures are no surprise to us -- we are rapidly becoming a nation bursting at the seams," says Maura Gillespie, head of policy and affairs at the British Heart Foundation. "We are all going to have to work together to curb these figures and the risk to our nation's health."
Experts are praising the government's stance on helping British citizens reduce their obesity, but also calling for the government to act on its commitments by enacting a ban on advertising junk foods to kids, and requiring clear labeling to help consumers easily recognize healthy and unhealthy foods.
Health experts recommend healthier eating habits as well as increased exercise. Health minister Caroline Flint has been tasked by the government to create a national strategy for increasing Britons' activity levels. Flint says one in five of all car trips are less than a mile, and simply walking or biking on such trips would aid citizens in their weight loss efforts.
"Obesity threatens to bankrupt entire nations due to health care costs," explains Mike Adams, a consumer health advocate and author of The Food Timing Diet. "And until governments around the world stop favoring business interests and start getting serious about banning junk food ads, outlawing toxic ingredients and educating the public about the true causes of obesity, it's only going to get worse," he said.