UNITED KINGDOM -- During the U.K.'s sixth-annual Obesity Awareness Week, The Obesity Awareness and Solutions Trust (TOAST) attempted to raise awareness of the deadly epidemic in the United Kingdom. It reported that obesity in the UK has grown by 400 percent in the last 25 years, meaning that two-thirds of the population is now classified as overweight or obese. The trust also said that one in three children is overweight, while one in nine is obese.
The statistics are in line with the recent warning from the country's Healthcare Commission, the National Audit Office and the Audit Commission that, without clearer leadership, the government will not meet its target of halting the rise in obesity in children under 11 by 2010. The target was originally established by the departments for Health; Culture, Media and Sport; and Education and Skills in 2004, but a joint report, "Tackling Child Obesity -- First Steps," said that a lack of guidance has left the organizations unclear about their roles.
In response, U.K. sports minister Richard Caborn, said, "Our long-term ambition is to offer all children at least four hours of sport a week, two hours of PE and two to three additional hours outside of school, by 2010."
Also, as part of the Obesity Awareness Week (March 12-18), health club operators Leisure Connection and LA Fitness offered limited-time free passes to TOAST members and new members.
SNEWSÂ® View: The United States may have been a leader in the obesity arena, but it is now not alone -- unfortunately.