Obesity now causes more deaths from heart conditions than smoking, according to a study.
There are about 31,000 avoidable deaths from heart disease due to obesity each year in the UK – compared with around 21,000 caused by smoking.
The British Heart Foundation said that 85 people are losing their lives each day because their excess fat leads to conditions such as heart attack or stroke.
Two thirds of all adults in the UK are now overweight or obese – more than 15million are obese.
It means the disease now causes a similar proportion of deaths from heart conditions as smoking does.
Some 53 per cent of deaths attributable to obesity in the UK are from heart and circulatory diseases.
Obesity now causes more deaths from heart conditions than smoking, according to a study
BHF chief executive Dr Charmaine Griffiths said obesity is having ‘tragic consequences’.
The charity urged the Government to implement its anti-obesity strategy such as a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts.
This includes a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising on TV and online. The charity said that viewing just one minute of unhealthy food advertising can lead to children consuming additional calories.
Dr Griffiths said: ‘With Covid-19 and obesity, the country faces two epidemics interacting at once.
‘Obesity is not only a major risk factor for serious Covid-19 illness, but it can also increase people’s risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases, such as a heart attack or stroke.
‘This is having tragic consequences, as our new analysis shows.
‘Lockdowns have been hard on everyone, with more screen time and subsequently more advertising being an inescapable part of life for children and adults alike.
‘In these circumstances it can only be right to help make the healthy choice the easy choice – there has never been a better time to make changes that will benefit people of all ages.
‘We know obesity is a complex issue, and simply telling people to exercise more and eat less alone will not solve it.
‘We need to address the key factors that make an unhealthy environment, and the Government must not waver in implementing the bold measures outlined in the obesity strategy they announced last year, such as a 9pm watershed and clear restrictions on online junk food advertising.’
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