Shock figures prompt obesity concern

MORE THAN 1.25 million adults and nearly 170,000 children in the east of England will be classed as obese by 2010, a shocking new report has revealed.Statistics released yesterday by the Department of Health in Forecasting Obesity to 2010 show the number of overweight people in the region is set to rise significantly when compared to three years ago.

MORE THAN 1.25 million adults and nearly 170,000 children in the east of England will be classed as obese by 2010, a shocking new report has revealed.

Statistics released yesterday by the Department of Health in Forecasting Obesity to 2010 show the number of overweight people in the region is set to rise significantly when compared to three years ago.

It has led health bosses to urge people to take more responsibility for their lifestyles and seek help to try and start slimming.

The EADT is currently campaigning to raise awareness about the dangers and prevalence of childhood obesity in Suffolk.


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According to the figures 1,256,039 adults will be classed as obese in 2010, compared to 1,078,337 in 2003.

Of these 682,481 will be men (30% of the male population) and 573,558 will be women (24% of the female population).

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Meanwhile 998,012 men (44%) and 700,878 women (29%) will be classed as overweight, the report claims.

Even more worrying is that 167,099 youngsters in East Anglia, aged between two and fifteen, will be obese by 2010 - a rise from 135,490 in 2003.

This amounts to 99,764 boys (21% of the male population in that age group) and 67,335 girls (15% of the female population in that age group).

The number of boys classed as overweight in 2010 will rise to 56,092 (13%) and the number of girls to 63,878 (14%), according to the report.

Norman Foster, acting consultant in the public health team with Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), said: “Of course it is a computer model but if accurate it just shows the great extent of the work we have to do in trying to help and support people to lose weight.

“I think we should all be worried because the figures show an upward trend of a condition which we know is both life-threatening and debilitating.

“Everybody has got to be responsible for their own health and their own lifestyle however obesity and being overweight is a very complex issue and often people need help and support to be able to tackle it.

“That is why the primary care trusts in Suffolk are trying to encourage people by putting in place a number of initiatives for both adults and children.”

Mr Foster said there were a series of schemes in the pipeline but those already on offer for adults included referring people who were seriously overweight to Slimming World, as reported by the East Anglian Daily Times last Saturday.

According to a web poll run all week by the EADT only 76 readers thought this was a good use of tax payers' money while 572 believed it was a waste of time.

Mr Foster also said PCTs would shortly be running Mind, Exercise, Nutrition and Diet (MEND) courses for parents or carers who were worried about the weight of their children.

He said: “Children will be able to come along with a parent or carer and discuss the psychological issues relating to obesity, nutrition and exercise and how to do it.

“We are working hard, together with the county and district councils and the voluntary sector, to tackle the issues faced and will continue to do so into the future in an effort to make in roads into the figures.”

More than 12 million adults and one million children throughout the UK will be obese by 2010, according to yesterday's report.

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt insisted the Government was doing what it could, but said people needed to take responsibility for their own health.

Ms Hewitt said: “In the old days, the big health challenges were infectious diseases like typhoid and TB, but these days our health depends much more on what we do for ourselves than on what the NHS does for us.”

Prevalence and number of adults and children (between two and 15 years of age) overweight in 2003 and 2010

2003 2010

Overweight Obese Overweight Obese

Men 937,827 (44%) 518,856 (24%) 998,012 (44%) 682,481 (30%)

Women 736,226 (33%) 559,481 (24%) 700,878 (29%) 573,558 (24%)

Boys 56,092 (12%) 80,700 (17%) 62,794 (13%) 99,764 (21%)

Girls 50,342 (11%) 54,790 (12%) 63,878 (14%) 67,335 (15%)

§ Current definitions of obesity rely on a measure called the Body Mass Index (BMI) - calculated with height and weight measurements.

§ To calculate your BMI determine your height in inches and multiply it by itself (e.g. 64 x 64 = 4096). Divide your weight in pounds by your height calculation (e.g. 175/4096 = 0.04272). Then multiply this result by 703 (e.g. 0.04272 x 703 = 30).

§ A BMI index between 18.5 and 24.9kg/m2 is regarded as “normal”, 25-29.9 is overweight and anything above 30 obese.

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