Obesity as big a threat as terrorism: MP

The security forces pictured carrying out anti-terror searches in Lurgan in September 2016. A Conservative MP has said that terrorism is equal to obesity in terms of the threat it poses to the UK.
The security forces pictured carrying out anti-terror searches in Lurgan in September 2016. A Conservative MP has said that terrorism is equal to obesity in terms of the threat it poses to the UK.

Obesity is as big a threat to Britain as terrorism and resistance to antibiotics, a Tory MP has said.

Maggie Throup (MP for Erewash) said too many children are becoming dangerously overweight, leaving them more likely to go on to develop life-threatening illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Ms Throup, who sits on the Health Select Committee, called on the Government to take “brave and bold actions” to tackle the growing obesity crisis.

Speaking in a Commons debate about health inequality, she said: “Today I make no apologies for talking about obesity again in this chamber because, alongside terrorism and antimicrobial resistance, I feel that obesity poses a major threat to our nation.

“With more than one in five children being overweight or obese before they start primary school, and with this figure rising to more than one in three as they start secondary school, our children, our future generations, are at risk of developing serious health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.”

She said deprived children are far more likely than their well-off counterparts to be obese and urged ministers to tackle these “vast inequalities”.

Meanwhile on Thursday, a senior Tory MP has called on ministers to halt cuts to public health budgets.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, the chairwoman of the Health Select Committee, said highlighted issues within her own Totnes constituency in Devon as she said cuts being made by her own party were resulting in healthy lifestyle services being scrapped.

She said: “I really regret that those will be going ahead and call on the Government to stop the cuts to public health.”