WE are a nation in crisis, adding an epidemic to a pandemic.

While there may be a return to some form of normality in sight, an equally serious killer lurks in our midst, claiming more lives per year than smoking.

Current figures show that over two thirds of the UK population are overweight or obese and that one in three children leaving primary school has a weight issue.

The problem is, I can’t stand on high and proclaim that it represents a shocking lack of self-discipline, because when I stood on the scales this morning, I realised that my weight puts me firmly in the overweight category, and dangerously close to that awful word obese.

I don’t have an underactive thyroid, I’ve got the full use of my arms and legs, and indeed personally own many pieces of fitness equipment, with ready access to all of the tools to make healthy and nutritious meals. But like many, I’ve managed to get my priorities wrong, and this is the result.

Such is the scale of the problem that the government is now looking to invest £100 million in several schemes not only addressing obesity, yet also providing individuals with the tools, understanding and hopefully motivation to keep the weight off, once it is lost. Such behaviour may even be incentivised.

A poster campaign in the not-too-distant past advertised the fact that obesity is linked with 13 different types of cancer. In addition, it is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which includes ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke. Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in the overweight.

These diseases are associated with an increased risk of significant illness and premature death, yet obesity affects our daily lives much before this. It puts strain on joints leading to bad backs and painful knees and is a significant cause of fatigue (imagine how you would feel permanently carrying a heavy rucksack). Contrary to popular myth, overweight people are not always happy and it is large contributory factor to low mood and lack of confidence.

No current article would be complete without a reflection on the link between obesity and Covid. Initial data showed that age was the greatest risk factor to succumbing after infection, hence the drive to immunise the elderly first. Yet it seems obesity runs a very close second, prompting the World Obesity Federation to advise that obese individuals be made a priority for inoculation.