The number of people in England who are obese has almost doubled in the last 20 years to 13 million, which is just under 30% of the population.
Health experts say the sharp increase in the number of dangerous overweight people is a disastrous indictment of the government's failure to address the obesity crisis.
While approximately 6.96 million people aged 16 and over in England were obese in 1997, reaching over 13 million by 2018, according to a UK Diabetes charity study.
At the same time the proportion of people over 16 with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 – the definition of obesity – also increased sharply from 18% to 29%.
Obesity attacks increase the strain on the NHS because it leads to more patients needing care for related conditions such as cancers, heart attacks and strokes, and even also knee replacements.
"Increasing obesity in England is alarming, and shines a harsh and n ecessary light on the urgency, decisiveness, action from government and industry to make our society healthier," he said. Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK.
The Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of health and medical groups, said the rise The spread of foods high in fat, salt or sugar is an important factor.
"For the last 20 years our food environment has been flooded with calorific and sweet processed foods and we are now paying the price for our health," said Caroline Cerny, OHA's alliance.
The number of obesity topped 10 million for the first time in 2008. It has since risen to 13 million in 2017, according to Diabetes UK calculations. rvey for England showing the percentage of the obese population, in Office for National Statistics data for the size of the UK population every year since 1997.
"People want to make healthier choices. But without strong measures to support it on a social level, individuals are left behind, confused, unsupported, ”Askew added. "It's easy to blame individuals, but we need to look at the environment we all have to understand how we got to this point. And we need strong leadership from the very top to bring back obesity and type 2 crisis to diabetes. ”
Rachel Batterham, special counsel of the Royal College of Obesity, said:" This report offers a truly damning picture of the state of our nation's health . Obesity not only reduces people's quality of life, which often leads to devastating diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers and causes people to die without dying . It is a complex, chronic, progressive disease driven by factors such as genetics, environment, and health inequalities.
"It is governments, not individuals, that can have an impact on the food environment through regulation and taxation, and through control. Availability and accessibility."
Obesity represents 80% to 85% of a person's chance of developing type 2 diabetes, according to Diabetes UK.
The prevalence of obesity is accompanied by a sharp increase in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes. There are estimated to be 3.7 million diabetics in England, though about 850,000 remain unaware they have it, the charity said.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, warned that "obesity is the new smoking" and has called for stronger measures to reduce sugar consumption and promote healthy diets.