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BMA calls for urgent action to address soaring obesity rates

23 February 2010

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BMA Scotland yesterday (22 February 2010) called for tough action to halt the rise of obesity and the host of illnesses that come with it.

The call came as the Scottish government launched its obesity strategy ahead of a debate in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (24 February 2010).

Figures published in December 2009 revealed that one in five children is overweight and one in 10 of these is obese or severely obese.

Dr Dean Marshall, Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish GPs’ Committee, said: “Obesity is a very serious issue that can lead to a number of life-threatening health problems. Doctors have a role to play in supporting overweight patients and talking about the dangers of obesity but there is a limit to what they can do.

“The BMA has been lobbying the government for some time to take real action on this issue in order to achieve a real improvement in the future health of our children.”

In Scotland, more than 40 people a day are diagnosed with diabetes – most of these cases are type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked with obesity. Increasing rates in childhood obesity will also lead to more future cases of heart disease, osteoarthritis and some cancers, says BMA Scotland.

Dr Marshall added: “Prevention is much better than cure. It is better, healthier and safer if children are given the tools to manage their weight, eat healthily and take more exercise.

“But no one is saying this is easy. We are in danger of raising a generation of children burdened with long-term chronic health conditions. It is vital that we take action now.”

BMA Scotland