Health professionals from surgeons and psychiatrists to paediatricians and GPs are joining forces under the umbrella of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (AoMRC) to start an evidence-gathering inquiry on what it claims is the single greatest public health threat in the UK — rising levels of child and adult obesity.
“Our starting point is the collective desire to ensure the healthcare profession is doing all it can to detect, treat, manage – and ultimately prevent – obesity,” says Professor Terence Stephenson, Vice-Chair of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (AoMRC) and President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is chairing the campaign’s steering group which comprises representatives from all 21 Royal Medical Colleges and Faculties.
A quarter of women (24%) and just over a fifth of men (22%) in the UK are classed as obese. The UK now has the highest rate of obesity in Europe.
The campaign’s first report will be published later this year and will provide the spring board for campaigning activity which will continue into next year.
“It is unprecedented that the medical royal colleges and faculties have come together on such a high profile public health issue,” says Stephenson, “But we’ve done so because we recognise the huge crisis waiting to happen and believe that current strategies to reduce obesity are failing to have a significant impact. By speaking with one voice we have a more of a chance of preventing generation after generation falling victim to obesity-related illnesses and death.”
Professor Sir Neil Douglas, Chair of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, adds, “This won’t be just another report that sits on the shelf and gathers dust; it will form the bedrock of our ongoing campaigning activity. We are absolutely determined to push for whatever changes need to happen to make real progress in tackling – which is why we’re casting the net wide to get input from a range of organisations and individuals.”