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MPs: Drinking 'is cause of obesity'

Slimming World | Slimming World

3 min read Partner content

The Government must do more to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and obesity, according to a new poll.

The MPs who took part in the research on Parliamentary perceptions of alcohol and obesity identified clear links between alcohol and weight gain, with 88% agreeing that regularly drinking more than eight units made it difficult to lose weight.

60% believe the Government needs to do more to raise awareness of the link, according to the Dods poll for Slimming World, the largest group-based commercial weight loss organisation in the UK and Ireland.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition and Research at Slimming World, said: “Not only are alcoholic drinks highly calorific and easy to knock back in a few glasses, once someone starts drinking they are far more likely to lose their resolve to make healthy lifestyle changes and are much more likely to be easily influenced to eat a takeaway or fast food.

“The Government has campaigns to encourage people to eat healthily and then, totally separately, spends millions warning about the dangers of excessive drinking but it totally fails to point out the glaringly obvious link between the two.”

Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford, and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse, said:

“There are a number of factors that contribute towards a person being obese, and excessive alcohol consumption can certainly be one of them. Alcohol is one of the three biggest lifestyle risk factors for disease and death in the UK, behind smoking and indeed obesity, each of which obviously puts pressure on health services.

“But it is important not to just look at these factors in isolation, and there is a role for the Government and its agencies to help raise awareness of the link between alcohol consumption and obesity by highlighting information on calorie content of alcoholic drinks, the effect of excessive alcohol consumption on weight gain and the long-term impact on a person’s health. By highlighting the facts, people can better choose to lead healthier lifestyles.”

The latest statistics show that nearly 1 in 4 adults - and over 1 in 10 children aged 2-10 - are obese. The huge burden that obesity places on the NHS, estimated to be £4.2bn a year and forecast to double by 2050, is becoming a major public health and political priority.

Dr Lavin added: "We support our 500,000 members to understand the impact that drinking alcohol can have on their weight loss and to develop strategies to stay on track and succeed. Nothing is banned on our programme but we help people understand the need to plan and be aware of what they are drinking as well as eating.”

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