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Chief medical officer warns that being overweight is becoming normalised

Being overweight is becoming normalised as most of the adult population in England is overweight or obese, said the Department of Health’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies today (27 March 2014).

Her comments come as the Department of Health published the latest annual report on the state of the public’s health, which also highlighted the success of hepatitis B vaccination programmes in prisons.

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Dame Sally says that she is “increasingly concerned that society may be normalising being overweight”.  She notes that being overweight is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

However, there is evidence to show that 52 per cent of overweight men and 30 per cent of overweight women believe they are “about the right weight”, along with 11 per cent of obese men and 6 per cent of obese women. In addition, 77 per cent of parents of overweight children did not recognise that their child was overweight, the CMO reports.  

The new report also highlights that almost a third of the added sugar in the average diet of children aged 11 to 18 comes from soft drinks. The CMO is calling on manufacturers to reformulate and resize products to use less sugar where possible.

Changing hepatitis B in prisons

The report also addresses the success of the hepatitis B vaccination programme in prisons in changing the epidemiology of the disease, across England and Wales, in under a decade.

The CMO also notes that engaging drug users and promoting the importance of completing treatment successfully can help maximise reductions in offending, particularly if individuals use opiates or crack cocaine.

Data from the GP Patient Survey in England shows a greater prevalence of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, in those with severe vision loss or severe hearing impairment. Further exploration of the association between sensory impairment and dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) may help to reveal more about the causes of dementia, the CMO says.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical JournalURI: 11136581

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