‘Obesity as big a threat as cybercrime & terrorism’ - senior doctor

© Rick Wilking
Britain’s most senior doctor, Professor Dame Sally Davies has called on the government to treat obesity as a “national threat,” on a par with terrorism.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England urged women to slim down to protect themselves and future generations in her annual report, which focuses on the health of England’s female population.

The report highlights the biggest challenges facing women’s health, including maternal health, domestic abuse, eating disorders and obesity. It further includes 17 recommendations to help tackle these issues.

One in four British adults is obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, promoting fears that Britain is now the “fat man of Europe.”

Davies warned the obesity crisis will have a massive impact on the National Health Service (NHS). She said the issue should be included in the National Risk Register for Civil Emergencies, alongside threats such as cybercrime and terrorism.

‘National risk’ 

I’m calling on the government to elevate obesity to a national risk,” she said in the report.

“Obesity has to be a national priority. Action is required across all of society to prevent obesity and its associated problems from shortening women's lives and affecting their quality of life.

In women, obesity can affect the outcomes of any pregnancies they have and the health of any future children they may have.

This is a difficult message to convey, as it risks burdening women with guilt and responsibility, but I believe that it can also empower women to take positive steps like eating more healthily and taking more exercise. It is never too late to take action for a healthier lifestyle – for you and your family.”

‘Obesity could leave NHS bankrupt’ 

Professor Nick Finer, from UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science, said the crisis could leave the NHS bankrupt.

Elevating the problem of obesity to a national risk could help to address the current laissez faire attitude to this huge and growing health catastrophe,” he told the Telegraph.

Obesity levels in the UK have trebled in the last 30 years and more than half the population could be obese by 2050, according to UN figures.

‘Ticking time bomb’ 

Dr. David Richmond, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said poor lifestyle habits are the “ticking time bomb” than can increase the risk of pregnancy complications.

Present lifestyle factors such as maternal obesity, poor diet and nutrition, lack of physical activity, high levels of alcohol consumption, smoking and poor sexual health are the ticking time bomb that can dramatically impact upon a woman's fertility and increase the risk of pregnancy complications,” he told IB Times UK.