Obesity and the environment:  increasing physical activity and active travel


In 2011 the government published ‘Healthy lives, healthy people: a call to action on obesity in England’,1 which described the  scale of the obesity epidemic and set out  plans for action across England.* Obesity impacts on health in many ways. It is a cause of chronic disease leading to early death. It increases the risk of type 2 diabetes (fivefold in men and twelvefold in women), raised blood pressure (two and four times
respectively) and colorectal cancer (three and two times respectively).2 Two-thirds of English adults, one fifth of
children in reception (four to five years old), and a third in year 6 (ten to 11 years) are
obese or overweight.2,3 Obesity tends to track into adulthood, so obese children are more likely to become obese adults.3

There are stark inequalities in obesity rates between different socioeconomic groups: among children in reception and year 6, the prevalence of obesity in the 10% most deprived groups is approximately double that in the 10% least deprived


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