Europe’s obesity problem is growing after more and more people were forced to work from home, stay away from doctors appointments or miss appointments during the height of Covid lockdowns. Obesity affects nearly 1 in 5 adults in Europe.
And a recent poll from Public Health England found that 40 percent of adults said they had put on weight during the height of lockdown – with an average weight gain of half a stone (just over three kilos.)
Around two-thirds (63 percent) of adults are above a healthy weight, and of these half are living with obesity.
In England 1 in 3 children leaving primary school are overweight or living with obesity with 1 in 5 living with obesity
Figures from NHS Digital show obesity rates among 4 to 5-year-olds rose to 14.4 percent in 2020-21 from 9.9 percent in 2019-20.
And children aged between 10 and 11, obesity increased from 21 percent to 25.5 percent over the same time period.
“What we get now is this load of patients who are sometimes very ill.”
Jacqueline Bowman-Busato, EU policy lead at the European Association for the Study of Obesity, said the European Union did not have an obesity plan.
It comes as the NHS launched an action plan whereby obese people are being urged to take up a free online NHS weight loss programme.
It means high street pharmacists can sign people, who have a body mass index (BMI) over 30, up to the programme, which includes diet and exercise plans.
“Obesity is a significant threat to the nation’s health – it increases your chance of dying from COVID and puts you at greater risk of stroke, cancer and other deadly diseases.
“The NHS’s radical action plan means it is now easier for people to take control of their health – adults with obesity can now walk into any high street community pharmacy to take the first step on a life-changing weight loss journey”.