The purpose of my project will be to ascertain specifically the impacts on our economy if the level of obesity continues to rise. My report will focus on cost and impacts on obesity without going into depth on the medical side of obesity such as the causes and treatments however they will be mentioned briefly with a holistic view of costs and impacts.
The level of obesity in the United Kingdom has swiftly stretched to an unprecedented high with one in every four adults suffering from it. It has also drastically increased with 68% of men and 55% of women being classed as overweight. 26% of adults were classed as inactive (<30 minutes of activity conducted per day), one in five children in reception and one in three children in year 6 were again classed as obese as of 2016. (There is little sign of this ascendant trend stopping, and undoubtedly it will have a substantial effect on our country. It will undesirably disturb the slowly recovering economy since the 2007/8 recession. The prominence on obesity as a health predicament has become more and more discernible over that past years. Calculating obesity is carried out via the use of BMI or body mass index which considers the height and weight. Obesity cannot be classed as a stand-alone disease it branches of too numerous other such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea and high cholesterol and blood pressure to name a few. Literature review: The current extent of obesity in the United Kingdom is of an alarming nature. According to Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives (a government strategy to aim to reduce obesity) it is predicted that by 2050 60% of the population will be obese (Department of Health, 2008). Despite statistics intensifying the social cause of obesity mustn't be disregarded. This does not mean obesity is not an issue but being classed as obese is continuously changing over the years thus a larger number of people as placed into that category. Gordon Brown introduced a 'Healthy weight, healthy lives' policy to attack the obesity catastrophe in 2008. Over 20 years the aim is to reduce obesity by certain levels they have categorised. To carry this out he planned to upsurge the access and opportunities to enable people to make healthy choices. From an economic side he planned to reduce the information gap between health experts and the public. This is an easy, relatively cheap (compared to other methods such as subsidisation and monetary policies) and effective method however there is always a time lag regarding the success of this method. The time lag will depend on the current information currently available. Another issue raised with this policy is that assistance is required to make the right selections, for example the ability to pin point the cause of an individual obesity occurrence can significantly assist with the understanding of how to reduce their weight. Simply putting the information out there may not be simply enough. Expert critics within this field commented on the dependency on an individual's confidence is essential thus more emphasis is required rather than a general focus on the obese population. Despite this, the two years on report (2010) states that the rise in the numbers of obese children has started to level off. Alongside this campaign the Department of Health introduced 'Change4life,' in November 2008. This consists of a three year campaign aimed to encourage healthy eating and exercise. Their first advertisement was launched in January 2009 involving cartoon characters demonstrating changes in eating habits. This could be beneficial as it highlights all the main concerns with eating unhealthily, such as fat build up which could lead to heart disease, diabetes and other severe illnesses. By involving cartoons it is likely to draw in children through its entertaining visuals and should increase understanding as it presents the information in a simple way. According to the National Audit Office (2001) the number of obese people in the population increases as you go up the age catagories, therefore this policy seems appropriate as it attempts to decrease the number of children becoming obese, thus lowering figures as they move through the generations. However, a major criticism highlighted by 'The Lancet' (2009) is that the advert is far too simple and argues that it is hypocritical as the campaigns' sponsors involve Pepsi, a product which the advert is ultimately trying to defer people away from. Depending on how the problem is perceived determines the policy that is enforced. The government clearly sees obesity as a behavioral issue, as appose to biological or as a result of discrimination