(NaturalNews) The British health care system will become "unaffordable" within the next few decades if the obesity epidemic is not somehow stemmed, warned government advisor David Hunter of Durham University.
An estimated 25 percent of British adults are now classified as obese. That number is projected to hit 50 percent by 2050. Obesity significantly increases the risk of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
"[The system] could break down and become unaffordable at that point," Hunter said. "Either that or the system could become completely clogged up."
Hunter's warning came one week after a report finding that the British National Health Service's (NHS's) drug costs alone for lifestyle-related diseases are now £750 million ($1.2 billion) per year.
Writing in his book Beat Diabetes Naturally of the immense financial burden that lifestyle diseases can impose, Michael T. Muarry notes, "The average annual health care costs for a diabetic are approximately $12,000, while health care costs for an adult without diabetes are about $3,000. Diabetes is responsible for more than 30 million doctor visits each year, along with more than 15 million days of hospitalization for diabetes-related issues."
Hunter has called for shifting the emphasis of health care from treatment of disease to prevention. In line with this perspective, he is now suggesting that the British government mandate health warnings on fatty foods, similar to those found on cigarette packages. Such warning labels might eventually reduce some sales enough that certain unhealthy foods would no longer be profitable, he implied.
"The problem of obesity needs to be tackled by strong action from the government," he said. "There are many products which contain such high levels of fat and other ingredients that they are contributing to health problems. Rather than banning foods it would be a system of food labeling and working with the food industry to phase these products out."