Millennials Set To Be The Most Obese Generation Of Brits

Millennials Set To Be The Most Obese Generation Of Brits

Millennials are set to be the most obese generation of Britons, according to new research, with 70% becoming dangerously overweight before they hit middle age. The findings, by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) also revealed the vast majority of people are unaware of the additional risk obesity brings.

People born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s will soon overtake baby boomers as the age group with the highest proportion of overweight or obese people, becoming the most overweight age group in British history.

The UK is already the most overweight nation in Western Europe, with obesity rates rising even faster than in the US. However, just 15% of people in the UK are aware that being obese increases your risks of developing 13 different types of cancers – including bowel, kidney and breast cancers. In fact, obesity is second only to smoking in the cancer causes rankings, and is a major cause of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

While knowledge of the links between cancer and smoking has driven down rates of cigarette consumption dramatically amongst young people, the same can not yet be said for unhealthy food and obesity. Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said the food industry’s “clever marketing tactics”, along with greater access to unhealthy food, has likely contributed to the rise in obesity rates.

So what’s being done to stop it? Public Health England called for a ‘calorie cap’ on ready meals earlier this year, and is currently working with a large number of major food manufacturers in an aim to get them to reformulate their products to make them healthier, i.e. by reducing sugar content. CRUK is also lobbying the Government to ban junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed in a bid to protect young children.

Speaking about the new statistics, nutritionist Cassandra Barns told SheerLuxe they suggest messages about healthy eating and the consequences of obesity are not getting through to young people. "I think there are two key messages for millennials," she said. "Firstly, that what we eat and our body weight can have just as big an impact on our risk of disease as smoking or drinking. And secondly, that this is a risk factor that we can control, unlike some others such as genetics and age".

Barns added that healthy eating doesn't mean following a strict diet or never having any treats: "Simply turning away from processed foods and getting our five-day of vegetables and fruit, as well as regular exercise, can make a huge difference,” she said.

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