Fat people will be offered cash incentives to lose weight and take regular exercise under a radical Government strategy announced yesterday to tackle the obesity epidemic.
Employers will be encouraged to set up competitions with money, vouchers and other rewards for people who give up junk food in favour of healthy eating and living. Those losing the most weight would earn the biggest prizes.
Experts say that most of the population in Britain will be obese by 2050 unless urgent action is taken
Ministers believe that by giving people incentives to do something about their weight now, it will help avoid larger costs associated with treating cancer, heart disease and diabetes caused by obesity. Similar schemes have worked well in America and British medical insurance companies already offer discounts for people who go to the gym regularly.
Experts say that most of the population will be obese by 2050 unless urgent action is taken and the associated rise in ill health would cost the NHS £50 billion a year.
The Government wants Britain to be the first major nation to reverse the rising tide of obesity and said it would focus on reducing within 12 years the proportion of children who are overweight back to the 2000 level of 26 per cent.
At present, 30 per cent of children are obese or overweight.