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Background

The increasing prevalence of obesity in the UK represents a considerable public health problem. The prevalence of obesity [defined as a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2] in England is reported to have increased between 1993 and 2004 from 13.6% to 24.0% among men and from 16.9% to 24.4% among women. When waist circumference was measured in a UK adult primary care sample in 2005, 38.8% of men and 51.2% of women were classed as abdominally obese (waist circumference > 102 cm and > 88 cm, respectively). It has been estimated that, among young people aged 20 years and under in England, 10% of females and 8% of males are obese. Should increases in the prevalence of obesity continue at the same rate, Zaninotto et al. predicted that the prevalence of obesity in 2012 would be 32% in men and 31% in women, with a likely higher prevalence among adults in manual social classes (43%) than in non-manual social classes (35%). Projections by the UK government's Foresight programme have postulated that by 2025 40% of Britons may be classed as obese.,

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