Obesity doubles in 20 years

The number of people who are obese in England has almost doubled in the last 20 years from 6.9 to 13 million, according to a new analysis from Diabetes UK (DUK).

The figures from the Health Survey for England (1997–2017) show that 29% of people over the age of 16 have a BMI of 30 or above which classifies them as obese.

According to DUK, obesity is the most significant risk factor for new cases of type 2 diabetes, accounting for 80–85% of someone’s risk.

Obesity is the main driver behind the leap in type 2 diabetes cases over the last 20 years. There are an estimated 2.85 million people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in England, and more than 850 000 living with the condition who don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed − bringing the total number up to 3.7 million, it says.

DUK Chief Executive Chris Askew says: ‘We’re facing an urgent public health problem. Tackling this requires ambitious and sustained action from national governments, across sectors and departments. Without action, more people will develop type 2 diabetes – but with more awareness, government action and the right investment and support, we can change this.’

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