Reporter 462, 26 February 2001

In the news

Most adults in England are overweight and one in five of us are obese. These startling claims are taken from a new report ‘Tackling Obesity in England’ written with the help of Dr Andrew Hill from the School of Psychiatry. Media interest in the report was intense and Dr Hill quickly became a man in demand. His role as Chairman of the Association for the Study of Obesity also makes him a key figure to comment on the findings.

He was interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme, the Jimmy Young show on Radio 2 and the World Service as well as a number of local stations from Essex to Merseyside, Bristol to Belfast.

Articles relating to the report featured in most of the national newspapers including the Independent, the Mirror, the Daily Mail and the Guardian.

The report, by the National Audit Office, produced the first estimates of the costs of obesity in England, suggesting that treatment for the problem costs the NHS at least £500m a year.

The NAO recommended that "priority must be given to implementing the nutrition initiatives included in the NHS." The importance of physical activity in schools was also emphasised.

Andrew Hill has already taken the issue of obesity into schools appearing on First Edition, a Channel 4 schools programme. Dr Hill, psychological advisor to Britain’s first weight loss summer camp for children, says, "It is misleading to see obesity as caused by psychological problems. There is much more we need to know about obesity, especially in children."

Having contributed in an advisory capacity to the report Dr Hill and the ASO endorsed the findings and recommendations. The ASO said, "Obesity is already a major public health and clinical problem, which left untreated is likely to become worse. It is not an easy problem to tackle and requires action on the part of the government, the NHS and individuals."


Asian cancer sufferers face delays in diagnosis and treatment because of racial stereotyping according to a study by the Centre for Research in Primary Care. The study, featured in the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, was the result of over 100 interviews conducted by researchers from the Centre as part of a two year project funded by the Cancer Research Campaign and the Department of Health.

Dr Sangeeto Chattoo from Primary Care said, "it was found most had poorer access to information and services for a large part of their illness compared with white people."


Park Honan, Emeritus Professor of English, appeared in the Daily Telegraph defending Shakespeare after advisers to David Blunkett had planned to replace the playwright with media studies in the GCSE English exam.

The Emeritus Professor believes, "If you give up on Shakespeare, you may as well give up on understanding human nature."

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