Britons have worst diets in EuropeUK worst for nutrition and obesity

11 October 2006

British people have the worst diets in Europe according to the head of the nation’s food watchdog.

(FSA) Chairman Dame Deirdre Hutton says all parts of society are eating badly and the nation has a ‘troubled’ relationship with food.

Her comments come less than a day after it was revealed that the UK is the fattest nation in Europe, with 60 per cent of women and a similar percentage of men overweight or obese.

Speaking in The Independent, Dame Deirdre described the ‘crazy’ situation in Britain that results in mass obesity in the adult population and sees young girls considering going on diets.

Poor nutrition

She added: ‘The most obvious symptom of our nutritional status is obesity. It's not the only thing, but the most obvious problem is obesity coupled with things like high salt in the diet.

‘Although other countries in Europe are catching us up or at least showing a trend growing the same way, we nonetheless remain right at the bottom in terms of poor nutrition and obesity.’

Yesterday the government released new figures showing the UK tops the league as the ‘fat man’ of Europe.

The figures showed a significant north-south health divide in the country, with northern areas showing higher obesity rates, while the UK population has the highest prevalence of obesity in Europe.

Childhood obesity

Within England, women living in the West Midlands were most likely to be obese, while those living in London, the South East and the South West showed the lowest prevalence.

For men the prevalence of obesity was greatest amongst those living in Yorkshire and the Humber region, while those living in London showed the lowest prevalence.

The figures show childhood obesity among children aged two to ten has risen from 9.9 per cent in 1995 to 14.3 per cent in 2004. The document warned that if nothing was done, 20 per cent of this agegroup will be obese by 2010 - which is more than 1 million children.