Health leaders launch a New Year anti-obesity drive today to tackle figures that show two-thirds of adults are at increased risk of serious illness because they are overweight.
The Government’s Better Health initiative, backed by the NHS, highlights six health benefits of losing weight.
It warns 63 per cent of adults are at increased risk of serious illness because of their weight, including cancer, heart disease and severe Covid, placing a major strain on the health service.
Health leaders launch a New Year anti-obesity drive today to tackle figures that show two-thirds of adults are at increased risk of serious illness because they are overweight (File image)
People will be offered free or discounted access to weight loss programmes in partnership with councils and the likes of Weight Watchers, Slimming World and PureGym. Health officials want people to visit the campaign website for advice on how to shape up, including tips on improving their diet and doing more exercise.
The campaign is backed by the Department of Health and the NHS and is supported by adverts on TV, radio and online.
These identify six health benefits of losing weight – namely reduced risk of 12 types of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, severe Covid, high blood pressure, and back and joint pain.
Maggie Throup, minister for public health, said: ‘The Better Health campaign returns today, focusing on improving adults’ health and helping them get to a healthier weight.
Minister for public health Maggie Throup (pictured) said: ‘The Better Health campaign returns today, focusing on improving adults’ health and helping them get to a healthier weight.
‘I hope that people can use this as a kick-start moment to be more active and eat more healthily, especially when losing body weight can have such a positive impact on our health, including reducing the chance of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19.’
National guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, or around 20 to 30 minutes a day.
The Better Health website says: ‘No matter how much you do, physical activity is good for your body and mind.
‘Adults should aim to be active every day. Some is good – more is better still.
‘A daily brisk walk can boost your energy, lift your mood and make everyday activities easier.’
The campaign suggests taking up an active hobby such as gardening, standing instead of sitting and challenging a friend to see who can do the most daily steps.
Other Better Health tips include swapping sugary drinks for water or ditching sugar from tea.
Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, deputy chief medical officer, said: ‘The New Year is a great time to make some healthy changes.
‘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.’
Studies suggest that losing just 5 per cent of body weight can seriously reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease.
TV medic Hilary Jones, a GP, said there was an ‘epidemic of obesity’ in the UK, which had been fuelled by people being stuck at home during lockdowns.
Studies suggest that losing just 5 per cent of body weight can seriously reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease (File image)
He added: ‘These six benefits highlight the impact of carrying excess weight, and the range of benefits that can be achieved by reducing your weight.
‘With Better Health, there are a variety of free NHS-endorsed apps, resources and online tools to help people introduce simple changes that will help them eat better and get active.’
Vanessa Hebditch, from the British Liver Trust, said: ‘Obesity is a public health emergency and urgent action to tackle it is required.’
Dan Howarth, from Diabetes UK, said: ‘There are many factors that can increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
‘But research shows living with obesity is the single greatest risk factor, accounting for about 80 to 85 per cent of your risk of developing the condition.
‘The number of people living with obesity is rising and, with an estimated 13.6million people in the UK at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, it has never been more vital to support those working towards a healthier weight.’