It’s a good job they don’t hand out gold medals for obesity – we’d just have won the Euros!
Yes, I’m afraid this is the truth revealed in a recent report by the OECD, looking at rates of obesity in the developed world. It showed that 27% of UK adults are clinically obese and that the rate is rising faster than for any other country in Western Europe. If it’s of any consolation, our overall rank is sixth on the list of 35 countries so there are 5 with a bigger obesity problem.
The report’s findings of the UK came as no surprise to me but I was interested, and impressed, to read that Canada and Australia have both managed to stabilise or even reduce their rate of obesity. Even more interesting is that Japan continues to have the lowest rate, at only 4% of their population! That’s less than 20% of the rate in this country. Of course, there will be a mixture of reasons for this, some genetic I’m sure, and others we don’t fully understand but you also have to believe that diet, culture and national policymaking have an effect. It should be a cause for encouragement.
In these times of Brexit, it also raises the question of competitiveness. When we look at estimates for what we will be spending in the NHS to treat the consequences of obesity in the years ahead, the Japanese, and others with lower rates, will be rubbing their hands at the competitive opportunities presented.
Obesity isn’t just a health issue, it will turn into a huge economic issue in the years ahead too! for that reason, we all have an interest in it, whatever our weight today.