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This is an opportunity for us to think about what all parts of government

need to do to address the epidemic. For the first time we are having very

different conversations with our colleagues in the Department for

Education, the Treasury and other government departments which are

beginning to see the impact of diabetes upon their agendas, as well. This

is a ‘health in all policies’, cross-department approach.

Finally, at the local level, we are beginning to have very different

conversations with individuals, families and in local government around

tackling this issue. In England we have a major programme designed to

help families and children reduce their sugar intake. Children are

ingesting far more sugar than they should, largely from fizzy drinks. We

have programmes now in England on education awareness, helping

families to switch to healthier diets. Indeed, there is a new awareness of

the health harm of sugar.

But while there may be a few developments to be optimistic about, we

need to be cautious moving forward.

current projections, we will continue to see an

increase in those who are overweight or obese

for the foreseeable future. We haven’t yet

peaked with the epidemic curve of adult

obesity. That is worrying. Unless we begin to

bend that curve, we are likely to continue to

experience increased pressure as a result of

Type 2 diabetes, but I think that there is room

for optimism.

One, there is a recognition that if we are going

to address this epidemic there is no simple

magic bullet; we are going to have multiple

approaches being implemented at scale, with

strong leadership at all levels – national and

local – to get to where we need to get to.

I am pleased that with the new government in

the UK, it is clear that diabetes and obesity are

going to be key health priorities. We have a

secretary of state for health who is very keen

to push forwards on diabetes and obesity. That

means we will have the political leadership in

place to push through some of the changes that

we need.

So there is some room for optimism; people are

now looking at obesity not just as a health

threat but as an economic threat to the country.

Professor Kevin Fenton

Director of Health and Wellbeing

Public Health England

B R OW S E

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public- health-england

H O R I Z O N

2 0 2 0

www.horizon2020projects.com

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

I S S U E S E V E N

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M E TA B O L I C D I S E A S E S

The rise in diabetes

continues to generate

greater burdens on

healthcare systems