There is no question that the incidence of obesity continues to increase. According to the official strategy

“Britain is in the grip of an epidemic. Almost 2/3 of adults and 1/3 of children are either overweight or obese……These figures will rise to almost 9 in 10 adults and 2/3 of children by 2050.”

“We are facing a public health problem that the experts have told us is comparable with climate change in both its scale and complexity”(1)

Table 1 shows that there have been large increases in the prevalence of obesity. The value for men has almost doubled since 1993(2).

TABLE 1

PREVALENCE OF OBESITY (BASED ON Body Mass Index>30)

YEAR ALL MEN % ALL WOMEN %
1993 13.2 16.4
1998 17.3 21.2
2003 22.2 23.0
2008 24.1 24.9
2010 26.2 26.1

There has also been an increase in the prevalence of obesity in children. Table AA shows that between 1995 and 2009 the proportion of boys and girls in the age range 2-15 considered to be obese have both shown a substantial increase(3).

Table 2

PREVALENCE OF OBESITY IN CHILDREN AGED 2-15

YEAR  BOYS % GIRLS  %
1995 11.1 12.2
2000 14.7 14.3
2005 18.5 18.8
2009 16.1 15.3

Table 2 shows that between 1994 and 2010 the incidence of diabetes has more than doubled for both men and women(3). The importance of these results cannot be underestimated.  According to Diabetes UK there are 145,000 new cases of diabetes every year which means that the total number in the UK is about 2.6 million. In addition it is estimated that there are about 1 million people who have diabetes which has not been diagnosed and that 7 million people have pre-diabetes which means that they are up to 16 times more likely to develop diabetes than those who do not have the condition.

The above results do not include those who have not been diagnosed. There is also a large number who are “pre-diabetic”. Furthermore there are no indications that the incidence is levelling off. Based on projections compiled by the NHS funded Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory Diabetes UK estimates that the number of diagnosed cases in England, Scotland and Wales will increase by 700,000 to 4.4 million by the year 2020.

TABLE 3

PREVALENCE OF DIABETES

YEAR ALL MEN % ALL WOMEN %
1994 2.9 1.9
1998 3.3 2.5
2003 4.3 3.4
2006 5.6 4.2
2009 6.5 4.5
2010 6.3 5.3

Table 4 confirms that deaths from disease related to the kidney have increased by over 20% since the year 2000(4).

TABLE 4

TOTAL NUMBER OF DEATHS FROM SELECTED KIDNEY DISEASES

YEAR NUMBER OF DEATHS
2001 4,934
2002 5,136
2003 5,264
2004 5,358
2005 5,493
2006 5,704
2007 6,049
2008 6,036

There has been a huge increase in the incidence of dementia and some results for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) are shown in Table 5. It is evident that this represents a real increase and is not related to the fact that life expectancy has improved.

TABLE 5

Table3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

1. A Cross-Government Strategy for England (March 2008)

2. Health Survey of England 2010 Adult Trend Tables.

3. Health Survey for England 2009

4. Kidney Disease: Key Facts and Figures. September 2010.