OECD report reveals the scale of the UK's obesity epidemic, which has the highest rates in Western Europe

The Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) has published its ‘Health at a Glance 2017’ report, which reveals that the UK has the highest obesity rates in Western Europe, with rates rising faster than any other developed nations. The UK's comparatively high adolescent drunkenness rate is also highlighted as an area for concern.

The report also says that the overall health and life expectancy of Britons remains average - aided by a reduction in smoking and adult drinking - despite a noted shortage in hospital beds and staff.

Responding to the report, Professor Neena Modi, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: 

 “The UK is languishing mid-table when it comes to healthcare. Protecting health and providing care efficiently, effectively and fairly to all should be a cardinal policy priority for all political leaders. 

“Sadly the evidence before us is not reassuring. 

“The UK has the highest prevalence of obesity in Western Europe and ranks 6th highest among OECD countries; a 92% increase since the 1990s. Yet despite this government continues to hold back from implementing strong policies to reduce child obesity and therefore the risk of being obese in adult life. 

“Alcohol consumption among 15-year olds in the UK is far higher than the OECD average. Yet the UK government continues to stall over the implementation of minimum unit pricing. 

“The UK has fewer doctors, fewer nurses and fewer beds per head than other countries. Yet despite concerted outcry adequate investment in the NHS and public health are not being made.

“The principles of the NHS are magnificent, yet the UK health systems are failing the UK public through underinvestment and poor leadership. The OECD report points to the urgent need for government to refocus investment and recognise the value of health to the nation.” 

Ends.