Thursday, October 13, 2011

5 billion excess calories a day in UK diet

British health officials say the country needs to slash 5 billion calories from its collective daily diet to slow the obesity epidemic.

In a report issued Thursday, the department of health said most adults in the nation of about 60 million people are already eating far more than they need. The average Briton eats about 10 per cent more calories than necessary, the report said.

The U.K. has one of Europe's fattest populations: more than 60 per cent of adults and one third of children aged 10 to 11 are overweight or obese. The new report aims to change diet and exercise habits enough so that the number of heavy Britons begins to fall by 2020.

Britain's chief medical officer, Sally Davies, said people need to be more honest with themselves about just how much food they're eating every day. "We are still too heavy as a nation," she said at a press conference. "Not enough of us are getting it right."

Obesity raises the risk of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Experts said treating fat patients costs the national health service $8 billion US every year. more