Chief Medical Officer: Recommendation #1 Government includes obesity on the nation risk register

Earlier this week, the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies published her latest Annual Report, The health of the 51%: Women.

Her first recommendation is that the Government includes obesity on the national risk register.

Here’s her reasoning in the Executive Summary of the report:

“In women obesity can affect the outcomes of any pregnancies they have and impacts on the health of any future children they may have. In pregnant women, the developmental environment can affect germline cells in the fetus e.g. their eggs (primary oocytes) and so a woman’s health whilst she is pregnant also impacts on the health of her children and grandchildren. This is a difficult message to convey, as it risks burdening women with guilt and onerous responsibility; I believe, however, that it can also empower women to take positive steps to healthy, stable nutrition and physical activity to benefit themselves and their families.

Action is required for women and across society to prevent obesity and its associated morbidity and mortality from overwhelming our health and social care resources and reducing England’s productivity. We must redouble our efforts to address education and environmental factors, across government, healthcare and wider society, whilst encouraging a greater degree of personal responsibility.”

Her mention of ‘education and environmental factors‘ and ‘across government, healthcare and wider society‘ is relevant to our second report on food and the city economy in which we explore the tensions and trade-offs in Birmingham City Council’s commercial relationships with sellers of confectionary and fizzy drinks, in particular Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Active Lives programme in our parks, and Mondelez’ sponsorship of a healthy eating programme with 60K primary school children in south Birmingham and TCV projects on community food growing.

Our two reports on the matter are Food & the city economy: Tensions, trade-offs & opportunities and Coca-Cola and its effects on us and the city.

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