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Nutritional Report

INTRODUCTION

Obesity has increasingly become a very significant public health concern. Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United Kingdom and obesity is an important contributor to this. Likewise, obesity significantly contributes to conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, the prevalence of which is also increasing. Type 2 diabetes causes significant morbidity such as amputations and blindness. The costs of obesity are grave not only through the suffering of individuals affected, but also to society as a whole through loss of productivity and earnings. Financial costs to the National Health Service (NHS) are immense as these conditions are often chronic and associated with numerous complications. This is thus an emerging epidemic that must be urgently addressed. 20% of the UK adult population is believed t be obese with 38% being overweight. Premature death is increased 2-3 fold and this although mainly attributable to cardiovascular disease is also related to breast, colon and kidney cancer. (Jebb 2003).

The problem with obesity is not only limited to the United Kingdom but is one that is faced by the developed world as a whole. It appears to be increasing due to a more sedentary lifestyle and little physical activity coupled with greatly increased intake of energy rich food. Obesity is a health issue that results from environmental, cultural, socio-economic as well as genetic influences and is thus a complicated problem. It has no easy or simple solution and nations affected have had difficulty coming up with effective solutions to this public health issue.

This report has and will have an impact on patient care through the clarification of the role of primary healthcare professionals in dealing with the problem. Better training of these people to equip them with necessary skills, as well as well as research into proven methods will enhance the benefit to patients.

Has this report had an impact on obesity levels? As previously mentioned obesity is a long term problem and thus more time will be needed to determine if the rising trend in obesity is being halted by these efforts.

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