General Article The true financial cost of obesity

Topic Selected: Fitness
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GPs and surgeons yesterday launched a campaign to combat obesity, saying current strategies were not working.

Around 30,000 Britons die prematurely each year of obesity-related conditions, and many more cope day-to-day with conditions including heart disease, diabetes and osteoarthritis.

But attached to this appalling human cost is a financial one, and it’s snowballing. For every month of inaction now, the cost will multiply, to the point where – in ten years – it could double.

Today’s situation is grim enough. Almost a quarter of adults in England are obese (with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or over). Around 800,000 are ‘morbidly obese’ – with a BMI of 40 or higher, the level at which life insurance companies may decline cover. In short, we are moving towards a situation where a million Britons’ lives are threatened daily. Again, a truly awful situation in human terms alone.


But what are the financial costs, and why should politicians act now?

An oft-quoted Foresight repor...

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