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Prevention and Management of Obesity amongst Adults Aged 18 and Above in the UK: The Role of Public Health Campaigns and Changes in Obesity-Related Environmental Factors

Adult obesity has become a major public health crisis in the UK. Presently, 25% of the adult population in the country is obese, with projections indicating that this proportion may double in the next three decades or so. This clearly points to the need for greater attention to the crisis. Though obesity has been linked to origins such as genetics, lack of physical activity and the consumption of unhealthy foods remain the major risk factors. This implies that regular physical activity and reduced consumption of high-calorie diets can substantially decrease the risk of obesity. Nonetheless, since these interventions are often implemented at an individual or small-group level as opposed to the population level, little effectiveness has been achieved. It is only in the recent past that nationally-focused public health campaigns relating to obesity have been initiated in the UK. The few studies that have been conducted in this relatively new area show that effectively implemented public health campaigns have considerable potential in terms of obesity prevention and management at the national level. However, reversing obesity prevalence may still be a challenge since the condition originates from not only individual and behavioural factors, but also environmental factors such as the food industry, workplaces, and the design of public spaces, which often hinder efforts to eat healthy and engage in regular physical activity. Therefore, for public health campaigns to be more successful, they must be accompanied by changes to the larger macro-environment. Since the use of nationally-focused public health campaigns in obesity prevention and management is a fairly new practice, more research is required to determine what works more effectively as well as the role of environmental changes in mediating the impact of obesity-related public health campaigns.

Table of Contents

Abstract 2

Introduction. 4

Search Strategy. 6

Obesity and Related Prevalence. 7

Mortality, Morbidity, and Economic Burden. 8

Causes and Risk Factors. 10

Prevention and Management 13

The Role of Public Health Campaigns. 17

Rationale for Obesity Public Health Campaigns. 19

Obesity Public Health Campaigns Internationally and in the UK.. 22

Effectiveness of Obesity Public Health Campaigns. 23

Conclusion. 26

Recommendations. 28

References. 30

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