Excess weight causes about 1,900 more cases of bowel cancer than smoking in the UK each year. There are also 1,400 more cases of kidney cancer caused by excess weight than by smoking each year, 460 more ovarian cancers and 180 more cases of liver cancer. Meanwhile, the overall smoking rate has declined to 14.7%, down from 19% in 2011. But across the UK, obese people outnumber smokers by two to one. 26% of adults were classified as obese in 2016, while 40% of men and 30% of women were overweight.
Those with the highest levels of obesity are risking serious illnesses and premature death at a rate 50% higher than those with a healthy weight, according to a recent study of 2.8 million people. This includes 12 times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, 22 times the risk of sleep apnoea and nearly four times the risk of heart failure. Even the least obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 35, have twice the risk of high blood pressure, nearly twice the risk of heart failure and nearly six times the risk of sleep apnoea. (Cancer Research UK and Alison Rouke, The Guardian, 28 April 2019)
Sorry about all these statistics, but they matter, because this issue is not taken seriously.
I am aware that this is a contentious issue (on this blog, aside from anywhere else). Some people think it is a private matter – if people knowingly over-eat and get fat, that is their affair. Other people have a genetic propensity to obesity they cannot help.
Nonetheless, obesity is costing the British National Health huge sums, not just in terms of treatment, but in ancillary things like special handling equipment, ambulances, reinforced hospital beds etc. Those who eat well and exercise are paying towards the treatment of the obese. The huge and mounting cost is giving the Tory government an additional excuse for subcontracting healthcare in England, mostly to for-profit American companies.