26 million UK adults will be obese by 2030

Independent


The obesity crisis is being driven by a food industry bent on maximising profits - but governments are failing to intervene to protect the health of their populations, leading scientists state.  In the UK, the fattest nation in Europe, the number of obese adults is now forecast to rise by 78% over the next two decades resulting in more than a million extra cases of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  A series of research papers published in The Lancet* ahead of the United Nations/World Health Organisation [UN/WHO] High-Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases [New York  Sept 19th/20th], lists 20 proven interventions for curbing obesity which show that eight would save costs as well as improving health.  The researchers state that no country in the world is successfully tackling the threat as leaders fear the wrath of electors if they slap extra taxes on healthy foods. [* www.thelancet.com/series/obesity

The INDEPENDENT is unique in both its coverage of The Lancet series but also for a Leader stating the case for a " fat tax ".  This was echoed in interviews with  Forum spokespeople by the BBC's News Channel, Radio 5 Live and 20 of the BBC's local radio stations that highlighted some of the 20 measures that The Lancet believes the UN/WHO should implement as soon as possible.  The series of the Lancet papers should be required reading for anyone interested in tackling to-day's pandemic and preventing it taking further hold in the future. 

THE LANCET is not alone in looking forward to the UN/WHO meeting.  The BMJ chooses to ask whether or not vested interest will bring the meeting to its knees.  In a paper " Will industry influence derail UN summit? ", it raises serious concerns about the " powerful sway " of tobacco, alcohol, food and drug industries.  This concern is then supported by a Commentary declaring that the meeting will be a " battleground, pitting public interests against powerful private ones ".  The two days may witness the emergence of a global social movement for change shaping the future of our health for years to come - or see it scuppered. [BMJ August 24th 2011]