According to the National Obesity Forum, 50% of the U.K. population could be obese by 2050. Quite shockingly, this is potentially costing the NHS an estimation of £50 billion pounds. Although GPs are recommended to proactively discuss weight management with their patients the forum highlights that the government should also start hard-hitting advertising campaigns such as those like smoking. In addition, inactivity, poor diet and electronic devices are the main cause of obesity within the U.K, thus doubling health risks, resulting in additional disease burdens to society that equal smoking. Subsequently three quarters of the British population by 2030 could be suffering with coronary heart disease, diabetes and other related illnesses.
As an outcome the Centre of workforce state, this manifestation of ill health has a tangible effect on businesses and employers, in short costing a yearly estimation of £32 billion in lost output because of absenteeism.
Additionally, the Royal College of Physicians has published an updated guidance on obesity calling on the NHS to increase the promotion on physical activity for its employees. The Guidance named, “ACTION ON OBESITY”, has also warned that the UK has one of the highest rates of obesity in the western world with an estimation of 25% of westerners to be medically obese by 2050. It has also recommended that GPs need to play a key role in decreasing obesity rates, in conjunction with the NHS promoting healthy eating, and physical activity programmes for its employees.
The Minister for Public Health has exemplified that physical activity is a very important part of any healthy lifestyle. However as only 28% of adults in the UK do under thirty minutes of exercise per week due to inadvertently removing physical activity out of their modern life.
The government has made almost £700 million available through a sustainable transport fund for employers to offer their employees tax relief schemes to purchase bikes up to 25% savings from the original RRP, calling this the Cycle To Work Scheme or the green travel plan. One of the UK’s leading providers of this service Cyclescheme explained, they had received excellent feedback from the local police force who stated they now had over 200 members of staff using the cycle to work scheme. As an organisation, the police force say they were striving to reduce bureaucracy, keep absence days to a minimum to help maintain a sustainable employment agenda, in turn also help boost local economy by supporting independent cycle shops, who provide bikes through the scheme. As mentioned the government had also, aptly named the scheme the “Green travel plan”. This is because not only is the scheme aimed at tackling obesity, it has also been put into place to tackle the worrying issues on carbon emissions. Likewise, www.edenred.co.uk reported 87% of employers say the cycle to work scheme has helped reduce their carbon footprint, in-turn helping reduce pressure on workplace parking, hence, it would seem the scheme is actually killing several birds with one stone.