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MPs back obesity awareness

14th March 2006

Obesity Awareness Week began on Sunday and MPs are backing the campaign to improve the nation's health levels.

The Obesity Awareness & Solutions Trust (TOAST) is behind the week, which aims to get through to the 60 per cent of adults and 30 per cent of children in the UK who are overweight.

It is thought that the problems of obesity go beyond the physical, with many obese people believed to develop mental health problems such as depression.

Over half of those who are obese also have a connected health problem, it is claimed, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.

Deputy health minister Lewis MacDonald told the BBC that small changes could make a big difference.

"Most of what we could do requires little effort," he said.

"Simple things like taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the bus one stop earlier, thinking about what you eat, grilling instead of frying and eating more fruit and vegetables."

The National Health Service claims that obesity relieves it of £500 million a year, with a cost to the economy of over £2.6 million.