Department of Health Skip to content

Please note that this website has a UK government access keys system.

You are here:

Foresight - Tackling Obesities - Future Choices Project  

  • Last modified date:
    19 October 2007

The Government asked Foresight in 2005 to carry out a review of obesity. Foresight reported its findings ‘Tackling Obesities: Future Choices’ Project  in October 2007.

Foresight is the UK Government’s science based futures think tank based in the Government Office for Science. The aim of the programme is to build on the scientific evidence base to provide challenging visions of the future to help inform government strategies, policies and priorities.

This project looked at how we can respond sustainably to the prevalence of obesity in the UK over the next 40 years.

The key findings include:

  • Most adults in the UK are already overweight. Modern living ensures every generation is heavier than the last – `Passive Obesity’.
  • By 2050 60% of men and 50% of women could be clinically obese. Without action, obesity-related diseases will cost an extra £45.5 billion per year.
  • The obesity epidemic cannot be prevented by individual action alone and demands a societal approach.
  • Tackling obesity requires far greater change than anything tried so far, and at multiple levels: personal, family, community and national.
  • Preventing obesity is a societal challenge, similar to climate change. It requires partnership between government, science, business and civil society.

Key stakeholders including Government have signed up to an action plan which will be supplemented and refined over the next few months. Progress with these actions will be reviewed after one year.

The Foresight report is part of the Government’s own efforts to understand more fully the scale of the problem. Our understanding of the issue has transformed over the past few years and for the first time we have a clear science based understanding of the potential scale and complexity of the issue. The analysis Foresight has undertaken is world leading. We are now in a much better position to tackle the problem based on a scientific evidence base.

A copy of the ‘Tackling Obesities: Future Choices’ Foresight Project is available on Foresight’s website at:

Access keys