20% of the public in Greater Manchester don’t know the difference between being obese and overweight, according to a new survey* conducted on behalf of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), with one in 10 stating there is no difference at all.
Despite this confusion, the same survey shows people have a clear understanding of the causes of obesity: over eating (80%) and lack of exercise (75%). But with obesity levels in the UK having almost trebled in the last 30 years and more than 60% of the adult population either overweight or obese, public understanding is not solving the problem.
Dr Jonathan Sheffield, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, believes clinical research can help to reframe the debate: “We’ve talked about diet and exercise for a long time. This survey tells us the message is getting through, but increasing levels of obesity show it is not having the positive impact society needs.
“People need more options. Clinical research will play a vital role in developing better and more cost effective treatments for people who are obese. Crucially, it also looks at the reasons for weight gain, which can help us address long-term solutions for the causes and development of the condition.”
The NIHR is currently supporting research into the condition across 43 diverse studies.
* Survey of 3,000 members of the public conducted by Atomik Research on behalf of the NIHR Clinical Research Network.