DHSC Launches Campaign to Battle Growing Obesity Crisis

A look inside the body is the latest attempt by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to alert people to the health risks of being overweight and obese. In its ‘full body x-ray’ animation six benefits of achieving and maintaining a heathy weight are highlighted including, decreased risk of common cancers (colon, liver, pancreas, kidney), lower risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, less back and joint pain, and decreased risk of becoming severely ill or being hospitalised with COVID-19.

Well-known, and popular, TV doctor, Dr Hilary Jones, who hosts and helps bring the animation to life, said, “These six benefits highlight the impact of carrying excess weight, and the range of benefits that can be achieved by reducing your weight. Small changes every day can help you lose weight and feel healthier.”

In the UK it’s estimated that around 2 out of 3 adults are overweight or obese and, therefore, at greater risk of suffering diseases associated with carrying too much weight. According to the Royal Society for Public Health obesity costs the NHS £4.2 billion a year, and without urgent action this figure will rise to £10 billion a year by 2050.

New Year Resolution – Less You, Less Risk

Public Health Minister Maggie Throup and Deputy Chief Medical Officer and joint lead for the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, both enthused how January and the New Year is a great time for making resolutions and for making healthy changes.

Maggie Throup, said, “I hope that people can use this as a kick start moment to be more active and eat healthier.”

Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy said, “The Better Health campaign outlines the health benefits of losing weight and gives people the tools and resources to make small changes to improve their health.”

Losing just 5% of body weight can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and could make all the difference in preventing treatable heart conditions, the DHSC pointed out.

Campaign Launch Given Large Support

The Better Health campaign was supported by Diabetes UK, the British Liver Trust, and Kidney Research UK.

“Research shows living with obesity is the single greatest risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes,” said Dan Howarth, Head of Care at Diabetes UK, “accounting for about 80 to 85% of your risk of developing the condition.”

Vanessa Hebditch, Director of Policy at the British Liver Trust, said, “Urgent action to tackle it is required to reduce the prevalence of fatty liver disease.” She warned experts predict that by 2030 non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NALFD) will become the leading cause of liver disease in the UK. “Many people are unaware that excess weight is a significant risk factor in this.” She added.

Being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of a person developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which can damage the kidneys. Dr Aisling McMahon, executive director of research, innovation, and policy at Kidney Research UK, said, “Research we funded in partnership with the Medical Research Council has also shown that obesity itself increases the risk of developing kidney disease.”

A variety of free NHS endorsed apps, resources, and online tools – such as the NHS Weight Loss Plan, Couch to 5K, and Active 10 – are available with Better Health to help people introduce simple changes into their everyday life with the goal of helping them eat better and get active.

Better Health is working in partnership with a number of weight management and physical activity partners who are providing both free and discounted offers.

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