Obesity, having a body mass index of over 30, is now frequently described as an epidemic. A Department of Health survey published in 2005, found that 24% of adults in England were obese. This is forecast to rise to a third of men (6.6 million) and over a quarter of women (6 million) by 2010. Yorkshire and Humberside has one of the highest rates of obesity in the UK.
Obesity is linked to a number of illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes, Stroke, Cancer, and Osteoarthritis. As well as having a harmful effect on health and quality of life, these illnesses are very expensive for the NHS to treat. However a small weight loss (5 to 10 %) can reduce the chances of such illnesses occurring, which reduces the demand on health services. In 2004 the Wanless report said that the NHS needed to invest money into preventing illness. It predicted that this could result in a saving to the NHS of £30 billion a year.
There are several components to the Theme: