Missed opportunity to tackle obesity through alcohol advice
Slimming World, the largest weight management organisation in the UK and Ireland, has expressed its deep disappointment that the CMO has missed a golden opportunity to use the first review of official alcohol guidance in 20 years to help tackle the UK’s obesity crisis.
Carolyn Pallister, Public Health Manager at Slimming World, says that the Government has stated its commitment to reducing obesity and to raising awareness of the dangers of excessive drinking but must do more to link these two critical public health issues.
Carolyn says; “Dame Sally has produced new guidelines to safeguard the public from the harmful effects of excess alcohol but the guidelines fail to acknowledge the link between obesity and alcohol, both as alcohol is often high in calories and drinking too much alcohol can impact on weight-affecting lifestyle behaviours.
“Over the next two decades, the number of obese adults in the UK is forecast to rise by 73% to 26 million people. As well as the serious physical conditions obesity can lead to — from diabetes and raised blood pressure to the increased risk of heart disease and cancer — people who struggle with their weight often experience chronic issues of low confidence, poor self-esteem and even mental ill-health.
“Alcoholic drinks are highly calorific and people need to be made aware of what they are consuming so that they can make their own informed choices. We believe that calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks will go some way to redressing this balance."
Government campaigns encourage people to eat healthily and then, separately, warn about the dangers of excessive drinking, but they fail to point out the connection between the two.
Slimming World says that to raise awareness of the fact that alcohol is high in calories is one step towards linking the impact of alcohol on weight gain. However it believes that the Government should also improve guidance in public health campaigns about how drinking too much alcohol can impact on weight-affecting lifestyle behaviours – leading to people eating unhealthily and being less active.
Carolyn adds: “Government campaigns encourage people to eat healthily and then, as this new guidance demonstrates separately spends millions warning about the dangers of excessive drinking, but it fails to point out the connection between the two.”
Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 18,000 groups held weekly across the UK and Republic of Ireland via a network of 4,000 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques.
Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and a recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating behaviour change in a warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.
For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000.
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