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Obesity Continues to Grow in the UK

November 01
15:28 2010

Two thirds of the UK population is now either overweight or obese. Research by the independent market analyst Datamonitor has revealed that there is no end in sight to the national health crisis as, by 2014, one in four women will be obese and a further one in three overweight. In fact by 2014, 16.5 million people will be obese in the UK.

“It is surprising that despite high profile government campaigns and continual media attention around healthy eating, obesity levels are continuing to rise. However this continual media attention may have led to information overload as our research has shown that although 39% of consumers are interested in reading or hearing about the relationship between food and weight, this has dropped by 4% since last year,” points out Mark Whalley, analyst at Datamonitor.

“Another problem of continual attention to our diet is that as consumers become more aware of food trends, some foods become fashionable and trigger potentially unhealthy fad diets. This promotes continuous switching behaviour wherein ‘the latest diet’ takes precedence over more ‘sensible methods’ or ‘things that work’.”

It is not necessarily right to assume that the obesity problem in the UK is due to a lack of interest. 50% of UK consumers who were asked about their weight management said they were trying to lose weight. Indeed, in the last year there has been a 4% increase in the number of British consumers following a specific diet plan. It is sticking to the plans that consumers are finding difficult.

The research has also revealed that obesity levels in the UK may not be due to a lack of education as 84% of say they know how many calories they are advised to consume a day.

Mr Whalley continues: “Tackling obesity is challenging due to an inherent lack of trust as consumers are highly sceptical towards weight loss products and the motives of the industry as a whole. Many consumers have tried and failed with weight management regimes and direct this frustration towards the industry. There is a perception that companies are capitalising on a societal problem for their own gain and that they are more focused on generating revenue than creating products which are genuinely effective.

As obesity levels are continuing to rise it is clear that many current weight management solutions have failed consumers. Consequently, more consumers are demanding better science from weight loss products. “A support network is vital as consumers need motivation to help with long term weight loss,” he adds.

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