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Friday 28th October 2016

Obesity 'equal to terror threat'

14th August 2008

A public health expert has said the threat to Britain and the NHS from rising obesity is as grave as that posed by terrorism.


Professor David Hunter from Durham University said that governments since the 1970s had “tinkered around the edges” of the obesity problem but ministers should now be taking "bold action" to tackle the issue.

That included a direct approach and taking stronger action to get manufacturers to improve the salt, fat and sugar content of their products.

Professor Hunter, who is also a government adviser, said it was possible that the disease it caused could overwhelm the NHS with forecasts of a doubling of the number of people with type 2 diabetes by 2025.

He said: "The government was quick to move for things like ID cards or 42-day detention without trial - now it needs to show similar leadership in public health. The threat to our future health is just as significant as the current security threat."

He wanted to see the current work between the Food Standards Agency and food manufacturers and suppliers to go further, bigger warning labels and changes in the taxation of food considered unhealthy.

"Lots of the initiatives are under a voluntary agreement - but it has just come to the point where things like these are simply not working," added Professor Hunter, who is author of The Health Debate, a book about the challenges facing the NHS.

The Food Standards Agency said that the voluntary approach currently used with the food industry had been successful.


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