Obesity ‘bigger health impact than COVID-19’ long term, says health leader

Increase in children with diabetes linked to obesity

The long-term effects of obesity could be more harmful than the impact of COVID-19, a public health director has said.

Ansaf Azhar, director of public health at Oxfordshire County Council, said the growing problem had been exacerbated by falling activity levels since the pandemic.

According to a BBC News report, the Oxfordshire County Council health director said those most affected were from more deprived areas.

Mr Azhar said he was working to make physical activity easier to access – especially for children – as well as providing education about health food.

On average, around 64% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.

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Increased risk

This comes as new research suggests a strong link between men gaining weight early in life and developing prostate cancer.

Men who put on two stone before turning 30 are 27% more likely to die from prostate cancer in old age than those who maintain their teenage weight.

This is according to new findings that emerged as part of the Obesity and Disease Development Sweden study, where 250,000 participants were analysed from 1963 to 2014.

Results show that those who gained at least half a kilogram per year from 17 to 60 had a 10% greater risk of aggressive prostate cancer and a 29% greater risk of fatal prostate cancer.

Gaining weight more rapidly puts you at a similar risk. For example, a man putting on 13kg between the ages of 17 and 29 is associated with a 13% increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer, as well as a 27% increased risk of fatal prostate cancer.

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