The UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, ahead of countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, the 2013 report says.
Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be obese by 2050.
The cause of the rapid rise in obesity has been blamed on our modern lifestyles, including the prevalence of the car, TVs, computers, desk-bound jobs and high-calorie food.
‘The UK is the “fat man” of Europe,’ writes Professor Terence Stephenson in Measuring Up, a 2013 report on the nation’s obesity crisis by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC).
‘It is no exaggeration to say that it is the biggest public health crisis facing the UK today,’ he says.
The consequences of obesity on our health include diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and people dying needlessly from avoidable diseases.