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Sunderland health chief’s warning over ‘obesity doomsday’

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A COUNCILLOR has said predictions that half of the population will be obese by 2050 are a “stark reminder” of the scale of the nation’s weight problem.

Coun John Kelly said the forecasts about future levels of obesity show how much work needs to be done to tackle the problem across the country.

His comments come after a report from the National Obesity Forum suggested that the UK is in danger of surpassing predictions from 2007 which estimated that 50 per cent of the nation would be obese by 2050.

It said the “doomsday scenario” set out in the report does not cover the true extent of the problem, and the forum’s latest findings call on health officials to introduce hard-hitting awareness campaigns – similar to those for smoking.

Coun Kelly, responsible for public health, wellness and culture at Sunderland City Council, said: “Obesity is a national issue which we are continually working with health partners across the city to address on a local and community level.

“In Sunderland, there are several established programmes to help individuals, vulnerable groups and families with practical help and support on diet, fitness and nutrition.

“This includes a programme of interventions to identify and, where possible, prevent childhood obesity with the Lifestyle, Activity and Food Programme for children and their families, which includes an Early Years Food Policy and nutrition training for health staff.”

The report also called on family doctors to pro-actively measure children’s height and weight and measure adults’ waists.

Coun Kelly added: “There is much more that still needs to be done to support people to make positive, healthy choices for themselves and their children. We are trying to achieve this at a community level through promoting active travel and access to green spaces as well as working with schools and a range of organisations and agencies.

“We must all continue to work together to influence the health of our future generations and reduce obesity however and wherever we can.”

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