The health harm and cost of obesity and its related diseases are so great that it is equivalent to smoking and demands similar action, according to the head of the NHS in England.
Simon Stevens will say the health service is leading the effort to tackle obesity, but others must follow suit, when he speaks at the annual conference of the Diabetes UK.
Being overweight is the second biggest cause of cancer, after smoking, and is the major cause of Type 2 diabetes .
Charities have said the Government must do more to prevent millennials becoming the most overweight generation since records began.
“Obesity is the new smoking and the scale of our response needs to match the scale of the crisis,” Mr Stevens is expected to say.
The chief executive of NHS England will add that “the NHS is already leading the way in the battle against the obesity crisis by slashing the sale of sugary drinks and super-sized snacks in hospitals, and the results now coming out of our diabetes prevention programme are also positive.”
Last year hospitals were told to cut the amount of sweets and sugary snacks available in canteens, shops and vending machines – with the warning of an outright ban if they failed to comply.
Data collected so far by NHS England shows changes made by one major shop, which works across the NHS, have resulted in more than a million fewer chocolate bars being sold in the past year.
There have been 175,000 more pieces of fruit sold and a new range of health sandwiches amount for half of sales in stores.
Type 2 accounts for nine out of ten diabetes cases in the UK, and can be prevented by keeping a healthy weight and diet.
Studies have even shown losing weight, or an intensive low calorie diet, can put it into remission.
The DPP initiative sees patients at risk of developing the disease, because of their weight, or other lifestyle risk factors like diet and smoking, and refers them to diet and exercise classes, as well as regular one-to-one reviews to track their progress on the nine month programme.
Only around 30,000 people, out of the 154,000 referred so far, actually completed the scheme, but those who did lost more than 3.3kgs on average – one kilogram more per person than the scheme had expected at its inception.