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United Kingdom

Obesity in the UK: What Can be Done?

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Almost a quarter of adults in England were classified as obese in 2009, and according to some research, one in three UK adults will be obese by 2012. This equates to thirteen million people, which is an overwhelming figure.

Over 9000 premature deaths each year from obesity were recorded at the beginning of this decade, and that was in England alone. With obesity being associated with numerous diseases (including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers, stroke and even death) something needs to change.

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Obesity Sending 30 Percent More Brits to the Hospital

At what point can we say that we are honestly in an obesity crisis in the developed world? If there’s anything we humans are not so good at, it’s dealing with problems before they are palpable in our lives. Obesity isn’t a big deal… until you have a heart attack, or can’t get up the stairs without breaking a sweat or huffing and puffing.

Well, if you need anymore concrete evidence that obesity is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with in major changes on a micro and macro level, here’s some more disturbing news: hospital admissions in the UK for obesity are up 30 percent over the period of a year.

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Vitaminwater Claims Ruled Inaccurate in the UK

On Wednesday, British courts ruled that Vitaminwater, a popular line of flavored water products, has too much sugar to be accurately described as nutritious. While UK courts ordered brand owner Coca-Cola to stop publicizing the claim, US legislators have already decided that Vitaminwater claims violate FDA rules.

Now, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority said that Coca-Cola broke the rules by describing the products as “delicious and nutritious” in a 2010 ad. According to the CBC News,  consumers wouldn’t expect a drink marketed as nutritious to have between four and five teaspoons of added sugar.

“The term ‘nutritional value’ is the loophole many manufacturers use to sell their products without outright lying,” said Mindy Haar, MS, RD, CDN, Director of the Graduate Program in Clinical Nutrition, New York Institute of Technology. “Most associate the term ‘nutritional value’ with ‘healthfulness,’ yet any food with more than zero calories, whether these calories are from carbohydrates, protein or fat, does provide some nutrition.”

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Britain to Bribe Citizens to Slim Down

UK MoneyAfter the success of several trail programs, the British government announced that it will be using financial incentives to get its citizens to be healthier. They will be offering £50.00 vouchers (about $78 US dollars) that can be exchanged for healthy fruits and vegetables.

“We will be expanding programs that use financial incentives for healthy behavior where the evidence supports it,” said a Department of Health spokesman who did not want to be named, in line with government policy.

Critics of the program worry that health department funds would be better spend elsewhere, and that the government’s efforts aren’t enough to change people’s bad habits and reverse the obesity epidemic.

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Weight Watchers to Change POINTS System

The research on weight-loss, exercise and proper diet just keeps expanding every day. There’s no doubt that what we believed 10 years ago (fats bad, non-fat products good!) is drastically different than what we believe now (good fats good, high sugar bad!), and it’s probably safe to say that in another 10 years we’ll have an even better understanding of how lifestyle affects our health. In an effort to stay updated on the weight-loss research, Weight Watchers in the United Kingdom recently unveiled a new POINTS system and, according to CNN, the United States isn’t far behind in doing so, too.
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