Members of Parliament have stated that it is “inexplicable” the NHS in England spends more on bariatric surgery than well-established measures to prevent obesity. A report by the Health Select Committee says health workers should use every opportunity to deal with the problem.
The MPs also call for urgent steps so people understand the wider health benefits of physical activity. The government says its Change4Life programme is providing widespread free advice on healthy eating and exercise.
But the MPs argue that national and local government and the NHS must do more to prevent people becoming unwell. That could include regulation of what goes into food, a ban on marketing sugary drinks to children, and much more support for people at risk of obesity and diabetes, so they do not need bariatric surgery.
The report emphasises the “huge health benefits” of physical activity. The MPs cite recent research which found that for the most inactive people, walking for 20 minutes a day would have a greater positive impact than not being obese.