- Professor Dame Sally Davies says excessive snacking is responsible
- It is just going to get worse unless more is done to tackle it, she warns
- She says she was shocked to find how crisp size packets have increased
Ballooning crisp packet sizes and excessive snacking is responsible rising childhood obesity rates, England’s chief medical officer claims.
Professor Dame Sally Davies believes parents needs to move back to three ‘proper meals’ a day to prevent youngsters being sent to an early grave.
Stopping children from helping themselves and grazing on fatty foods in the fridge could help to tackle the problem – which is expected to see half of the population becoming obese by 2050, she suggested.
Over the past three decades, rates of obesity in the UK are significantly higher than in the US – despite them topping the list worldwide.
But this is just going to get worse unless more is done to address the ‘gobsmacking’ crisis, she warns.
Over the past three decades, rates of obesity in the UK are significantly higher than in the US – despite them topping the list worldwide
Speaking at the inaugural Childhood Obesity Summit, held at the Royal Society in London, she said: ‘It [obesity] is impacting across the whole of our society and all areas of health.’
‘The problem is this is increasing in both the developed and the developing world.
‘I was absolutely aghast to be told about the crisp sizes and how packets have been increased. I keep telling my children about them.
‘I find it fascinating when people come and stay with me and they start grazing in the fridge.
‘This isn’t the way to do it, we need to move back to proper meals and make it easier to calorie count.’
People are also wrongly worrying about tropical diseases such as Ebola, and should be more concerned about obesity, she warns.
Dame Davies said the costs of childhood obesity were ‘phenomenal’ – upwards of £5 billion a year.
‘It makes it [obesity] the biggest human-generated burden to the economy and the health sector after smoking,’ she added.
Stopping children from helping themselves and grazing on fatty foods in the fridge could help to tackle the problem – which is expected to see half of the population becoming obese by 2050, Professor Dame Sally Davies suggested
‘If we put that in perspective, we are spending more every year on the treatment of obesity and diabetes than we do on the police, the fire service and the judiciary combined.’
Obesity is also becoming normalised, leaving people unsure what truly counts as overweight, she warns.
She also said in her generation it was normal to see ribs on the beach – which she considers to be a healthy weight.
‘I haven’t forgotten being weighed at my general practice by the nurse who said: “Oh you’re fine”, she recalls.
But she claims at the time she was rather heavy, weighing more than she should.
Her nurse, who was ‘clearly overweight’, told her she was fine because she wasn’t the same size as her.
This comes after new figures released today showed more children are overweight or obese than ever before.
One in three 10 and 11 year olds – 34.2 per cent – were deemed to be overweight or obese in 2015-16.
Experts say that it is the highest percentage on record for children in year six is up on the 33.2 per cent recorded for the previous year.
Data from the National Child Measurement Programme for England shows obesity has risen in the last year, even for the youngest children being measured, aged four.