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Obesity cost 'more than violence, war and terrorism'

The authors of a report into obesity have called called for a "coordinated response" from governments, retailers, restaurants and food and drink manufacturers to address the "global obesity crisis".

A series of 44 interventions could bring 20% of overweight or obese people in UK back to normal weight within five to 10 years, the report said. This would save around #16 billion a year in UK, including an annual saving of about £766 million in the NHS, according to the study.

Obesity is a major global economic problem caused by a multitude of factors. Today obesity is jostling with armed conflict and smoking in terms of having the greatest human-generated global economic impact. The global economic impact of obesity is increasing. The evidence suggests that the economic and societal impact of obesity is deep and lasting.

– McKinsey and Company report

The report found the economic impact from smoking in the UK was £57 billion in 2012, or 3.6% of GDP, while the country suffered a £43 billion annual loss from armed violence, war and terrorism or 2.5% of GDP.

Obesity costing UK economy £47 billion report finds

A report has found that obesity is a greater burden on the UK's economy than armed violence, war and terrorism, costing the country nearly £47 billion a year.

Obesity costing UK economy £47 billion report finds. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Image

The study, commissioned by consultancy firm McKinsey and Company, revealed obesity has the second-largest economic impact on the UK behind smoking, generating an annual loss equivalent to 3% of GDP.

Weight loss surgery patient: 'I had no self-esteem'

An 18-year-old has described how miserable her life was before she had a gastric band fitted so she could undergo a dramatic weight loss to get her health under control.

Sadie Roberts told Good Morning Britain she was depressed, weighed 24 stone and at risk of diabetes before she had the drastic operation.

However, she defended her decision to have the surgery after it emerged "hundreds" of under-25s were undergoing similar procedures every year in the UK.

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Average patient 'twice the weight they should be'

The average patient who underwent weight loss surgery at some point in the last three years had a body mass index (BMI) of 48.8, meaning they were almost twice they should be for their height.

Figures from the National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR) revealed:

  • Some 73.2% of men and 71.5% of women had what is known as functional impairment - meaning they could not climb three flights of stairs without resting.
  • But after surgery more than half of those patients (56%) could manage three flights without resting, the report found.
  • The mortality rate of patients after weight loss surgery was 0.07%, while the rate of post-operation complications was 2.9%.
  • An increasing proportion of men are seeking surgery, the report found. In 2006, 16% of patients were male while by 2013 the figure had risen to almost 26%.

Hundreds of under-25s 'having weight loss surgery'

Hundreds of young people under the age of 25 had weight loss surgery in the last three years, according to a wide-ranging study.

Weight loss surgery was credited with reducing diabetes numbers. Credit: PA

Some 108 men and 462 women aged 24 or under had obesity operations between 2011 and 2013, according to the National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR).

The register revealed 62 of those were under the age of 18.

There was some relief for overweight patients with diabetes - the NBSR showed 65% of obese patients who had undergone weight loss surgery with type two diabetes showed no sign of the condition two years after weight loss surgery.

On average, patients lost 58% of their excess weight a year after surgery, with the figure rising to 68.7% for gastric bypass patients alone.

The NBSR report, which looked at more than 18,200 operations from 2011 to 2013, said bariatric surgery could offer "significant financial savings to the healthcare economy".

Report calls for cash prizes for employees who lose weight

Employees in England could be rewarded with cash or shopping vouchers for losing weight under NHS-backed plans to tackle the obesity crisis.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said workplace health schemes had become a "blind spot" in the healthcare system:

The principal point is that employers in many countries have developed voluntary schemes for their employees whereby for example you actually get cash back based on participation in Weight Watchers or other type schemes.

– Simon Stevens, chief executive, NHS England

Body Mass Index 'positively associated' with cancer risk

Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The findings, published in the Lancet medical journal, suggest BMI was "positively associated" with 10 most common cancers, including uterus, cervix, thyroid, kidney, liver and colon.

Post-menopausal breast cancer and leukaemia were also a heightened risk, the scientists said.

A person is deemed to be overweight if they have a BMI score, calculated using their weight and height, of 25 to 30 and are obese if it is above 30.

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