Mike Gapes joined obesity specialists from across the country at the House of Commons last week to launch a national awareness raising campaign, My Weight, My Future. The campaign, a joint initiative between the Obesity Management Association (OMA) and foodadvisors.co.uk, highlights the rapid rise in obesity and calls for urgent action from individuals, parents and families before the NHS buckles under the pressure.
Mike had his Body Mass Index (BMI) measured live on BBC 2’s Daily Politics to highlight the importance of the campaign. Mike said that because of his job, he could not always eat at regular times, but he was trying hard, and is cutting out alcohol for a month in a bid to bring his BMI down to a healthy level.
Representatives from Kings Private Clinic in Ilford, which is a member of OMA, joined Mike Gapes MP and leading names from the health sector to urge everyone in Ilford and beyond to ‘Know My BMI.’ My Weight, My Future sets a challenge to the nation, arguing that every person should know the BMI for themselves and each member of their family, measuring it at least once every three months.
The UK has one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe, with one in four adults and a third of eleven year olds classified as obese. Obesity already costs the NHS in excess of £5 billion a year and in this difficult economic climate, our health service is struggling to cope.
In the local area, more than a fifth of adults (22%) are obese. However, the percentage of adult population with obesity is statistically lower than the national average. An alarming 12.2 per cent of reception children are clinically obese, in comparison to 9.4 per cent in England. Among year six children, 23.1 per cent were obese compared to 19.4 per cent nationally. The proportion of obese children in the borough has been rising steadily since 2006 and many more are overweight.
Mike Gapes said:
“Levels of obesity in the constituency and beyond are becoming a serious problem. It is vital we act now to combat the obesity epidemic and reduce the burden on the NHS. There is a huge risk of future long term illnesses – this is why we need to take action to combat obesity now.”
Robert Houtman, spokesperson for OMA said:
“Obesity is a huge concern and we cannot go on letting our National Health Service pick up the pieces as weight balloons in both children and adults. The My Weight, My Future campaign encourages individuals and families to take action now, to find out their BMI and take positive action to address obesity. We encourage everyone in Ilford to support us - visit the campaign website at www.myweightmyfuture.com.”